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Political Price Cycles in Regulated Industries: Theory and Evidence

  • Rodrigo M. S. Moita
  • Claudio Paiva

The early work of Stigler (1971) treats the regulatory process as the arbitration of conflicting economic and political interests rather than a pure welfare-maximizing effort. This paper builds on these ideas and models the regulatory process as a game where the industry-lobby, consumers-voters, and a regulator-politician interact to define the regulated price, in alternating electoral and non-electoral periods. The equilibrium that emerges consists of a fully rational political price cycle in a regulated industry. Using monthly data for regulated gasoline and electricity prices from Brazil, we find strong evidence pointing towards the existence of electoral price cycles in both markets. (JEL D72, L51, L71, L78, L94, L98, O14)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 94-121

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:94-121
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.1.94
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  1. Rodrigo M. S. Moita & Claudio Paiva, 2013. "Political Price Cycles in Regulated Industries: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 94-121, February.
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  18. Spiller, Pablo T, 1990. "Politicians, Interest Groups, and Regulators: A Multiple-Principals Agency Theory of Regulation, or "Let Them Be Bribed."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 65-101, April.
  19. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Peltzman, Sam, 1993. "George Stigler's Contribution to the Economic Analysis of Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 818-32, October.
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