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Setting the X Factor in Price Cap Regulation Plans

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  • Jeffrey I. Bernstein
  • David E. M. Sappington

Abstract

Despite the popularity of price cap regulation in practice, the economic literature provides relatively little guidance on how to determine the X factor, which is the rate at which inflation -adjusted output prices must fall under price cap plans. We review the standard principles that inform the choice of the X factor, and then consider important extensions. We analyze appropriate modifications of the X factor: (1) when only a subset of the firm's products are subject to price cap regulation, and when product-specific costs and productivity cannot be measured; (2) when the pricing decisions of the regulated firm affect the economy-wide inflation rate; and (3) in the presence of structural changes in the industry, such as a strengthening of competitive forces.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6622.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
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Publication status: published as Journal of Regulatory Economics, Vol. 16 (1999): 5-25.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6622

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  1. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, December.
  2. Staranczak, Genio A. & Sepulveda, Edgardo R. & Dilworth, Peter A. & Shaikh, Shafi A., 1994. "Industry structure, productivity and international competitiveness: the case of telecommunications," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 121-142, July.
  3. Ellen M. Pint, 1992. "Price-Cap versus Rate-of-Return Regulation in a Stochastic-Cost Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 564-578, Winter.
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  8. Richard Schmalensee, 1989. "Good Regulatory Regimes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 417-436, Autumn.
  9. Bernstein, Jeffrey I, 1989. "An Examination of the Equilibrium Specification and Structure of Production for Canadian Telecommunications," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(3), pages 265-82, July-Sept.
  10. Diewert, W.E., 1993. "Duality approaches to microeconomic theory," Handbook of Mathematical Economics, in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 12, pages 535-599 Elsevier.
  11. Cabral, Luis M B & Riordan, Michael H, 1989. "Incentives for Cost Reduction under Price Cap Regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 93-102, June.
  12. John E. Kwoka, 1993. "Implementing price cops in telecommunications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 726-752.
  13. M.E. Beesley & S.C. Littlechild, 1989. "The Regulation of Privatized Monopolies in the United Kingdom," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 454-472, Autumn.
  14. Tracy R. Lewis & David E.M. Sappington, 1989. "Regulatory Options and Price-Cap Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 405-416, Autumn.
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