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Political Price Cycles in Regulated Industries: Theory and Evidence

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  • Rodrigo M. S. Moita
  • Claudio Paiva

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • 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.
    2. Fernanda Arreola & Rodrigo Bandeira-de-Mello, 2018. "The Differential Effects of Minority State Ownership Types on the Internationalization of Emerging Market Multinationals from Democratic States," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 58(5), pages 845-869, October.
    3. Heyes, Anthony & Kapur, Sandeep, 2011. "Regulatory attitudes and environmental innovation in a model combining internal and external R&D," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 327-340, May.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • L78 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Government Policy
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L98 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Government Policy
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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