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Toward a Theory of Regulation for Developing Countries: Following Jean-Jacques Laffont's Lead

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  • Antonio Estache
  • Liam Wren-Lewis

Abstract

The efficient operation and expansion of infrastructures in developing countries is crucial for growth and poverty reduction. However, recent reforms aimed at improving the performance of these sectors have had limited success. Evidence suggests that, in many instances, this was because the traditional regulatory theory relied on by policymakers was not suitable for the institutional context in developing countries. This article surveys more recent theoretical work focusing on problems with regulation in these countries. At the heart of the survey is the work of Jean-Jacques Laffont, who, in the last decade of his life, set about developing a theoretical framework for regulation in developing countries. We consider the implications of his work, which focused on the key institutional limitations faced in developing countries. We then discuss where experience suggests that there are important omissions from this modeling, bringing in extensions and alternative approaches pursued by other authors. We conclude by summarizing the key ways in which regulatory policy will be different when institutions are weak. Overall, we find that an understanding of the institutional context and its implications are crucial when designing a regulatory framework for developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Estache & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2009. "Toward a Theory of Regulation for Developing Countries: Following Jean-Jacques Laffont's Lead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 729-770, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:47:y:2009:i:3:p:729-70
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.47.3.729
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    Cited by:

    1. Ackerberg, Daniel A. & DeRemer, David R. & Riordan, Michael H. & Rosston, Gregory L. & Wimmer, Bradley S., 2014. "Estimating the impact of low-income universal service programs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 84-98.
    2. Antonio Estache & Caroline Philippe, 2012. "The Impact of Private Participation in Infrastructure in Developing Countries: Taking Stock of about 20 Years of Experience," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-043, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    4. Trillas, Francesc & Xifré, Ramon, 2016. "Institutional reforms to integrate regulation and competition policy: Economic analysis, international perspectives, and the case of the CNMC in Spain," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 75-87.
    5. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2016. "Corruption in PPPs, incentives and contract incompleteness," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 85-100.
    6. Dan Bogart & Latika Chaudhary, 2012. "Regulation, Ownership, and Costs: A Historical Perspective from Indian Railways," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 28-57, February.
    7. Fiocco, Raffaele & Scarpa, Carlo, 2014. "The regulation of markets with interdependent demands," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 1-12.
    8. Bogart, Dan & Chaudhary, Latika, 2015. "Off the rails: Is state ownership bad for productivity?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 997-1013.
    9. Antonio Estache & Tomas Serebrisky & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2015. "Financing infrastructure in developing countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3-4), pages 279-304.
    10. Adams, Laurel & Régibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 2014. "Incentives to create jobs: Regional subsidies, national trade policy and foreign direct investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 102-119.
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    18. repec:eee:juipol:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:122-131 is not listed on IDEAS
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    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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