IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Some Applied Economics of Utility Regulation


  • Stephen Littlechild


This paper seeks to bring to the attention of regulatory economists and policymakers the existence of some approaches to utility regulation that have hitherto received little or no attention in the economics literature. It begins by noting that regulatory actions have discouraged certain kinds of retail contracts in the UK that are offered in Nordic countries, almost extinguished retail competition in Ohio, and distorted the market for merchant interconnectors in Australia. In contrast, Argentina secured an efficient appraisal and implementation of transmission expansions by empowering users and severely limiting the role for regulation. Some US and Canadian jurisdictions have fostered the emergence of negotiated settlements that exhibit considerable innovation, and greater benefits for all parties than would have been possible with the conventional regulatory approach. These examples of the actual regulatory world can inform the work of theorists and policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Littlechild, 2008. "Some Applied Economics of Utility Regulation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 43-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:dn-se-a04

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to IAEE members and subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barelli, Paulo & de Abreu Pessoa, Samuel, 2003. "Inada conditions imply that production function must be asymptotically Cobb-Douglas," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 361-363, December.
    2. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    3. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
    4. Barelli, Paulo & Pessôa, Samuel de Abreu, 2003. "Inada conditions imply that production function must be asymptotically Cobb-Douglas," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 477, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    5. Myllyntaus, Timo & Mattila, Timo, 2002. "Decline or increase? The standing timber stock in Finland, 1800-1997," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 271-288, May.
    6. Tahvonen, Olli & Salo, Seppo, 2001. "Economic growth and transitions between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1379-1398, August.
    7. Stern, David I., 1997. "Limits to substitution and irreversibility in production and consumption: A neoclassical interpretation of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 197-215, June.
    8. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    9. Stern, David I., 2012. "Modeling international trends in energy efficiency," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2200-2208.
    10. Smulders, Sjak & de Nooij, Michiel, 2003. "The impact of energy conservation on technology and economic growth," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-79, February.
    11. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 2001. "Endogenous Policy Choice: The Case of Pollution and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 369-405, July.
    12. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273, March.
    13. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9477.
    14. repec:bla:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:1:p:99-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    16. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    17. Kim, H Youn, 1992. "The Translog Production Function and Variable Returns to Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 546-552, August.
    18. Phillips, Peter C B & Ouliaris, S, 1990. "Asymptotic Properties of Residual Based Tests for Cointegration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 165-193, January.
    19. Ernst Berndt & Charles Kolstad & Jong-Kun Lee, 1993. "Measuring the Energy Efficiency and Productivity Impacts of Embodied Technical Change," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 33-56.
    20. Stern, David I., 2002. "Explaining changes in global sulfur emissions: an econometric decomposition approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 201-220, August.
    21. Wrigley,E. A., 2010. "Energy and the English Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766937, March.
    22. Stern, David I., 2000. "A multivariate cointegration analysis of the role of energy in the US macroeconomy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 267-283, April.
    23. Koetse, Mark J. & de Groot, Henri L.F. & Florax, Raymond J.G.M., 2008. "Capital-energy substitution and shifts in factor demand: A meta-analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2236-2251, September.
    24. Di Maria, Corrado & Valente, Simone, 2008. "Hicks meets Hotelling: the direction of technical change in capital–resource economies," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(06), pages 691-717, December.
    25. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    26. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    27. Wrigley,E. A., 2010. "Energy and the English Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521131858, March.
    28. Klump, Rainer & Preissler, Harald, 2000. " CES Production Functions and Economic Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 41-56, March.
    29. Stern, David I., 1993. "Energy and economic growth in the USA : A multivariate approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 137-150, April.
    30. William Brock & M. Taylor, 2010. "The Green Solow model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 127-153, June.
    31. Robert S. Chirinko, 2008. "ó: The Long And Short Of It," CESifo Working Paper Series 2234, CESifo Group Munich.
    32. Jakob Madsen & James Ang & Rajabrata Banerjee, 2010. "Four centuries of British economic growth: the roles of technology and population," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 263-290, December.
    33. Chirinko, Robert S., 2008. "[sigma]: The long and short of it," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 671-686, June.
    34. Chongwoo Choe & In-Uck Park, 2010. "Information, Authority, and Corporate Hierarchies," Monash Economics Working Papers 03-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    35. Matt Benge & Graeme Wells, 2002. "Growth and the Current Account in a Small Open Economy," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 152-165, June.
    36. Ayres, Robert U. & Warr, Benjamin, 2005. "Accounting for growth: the role of physical work," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-209, June.
    37. Hansen, Bruce E., 1992. "Efficient estimation and testing of cointegrating vectors in the presence of deterministic trends," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1-3), pages 87-121.
    38. Roger Fouquet & Peter J.G. Pearson, 2006. "Seven Centuries of Energy Services: The Price and Use of Light in the United Kingdom (1300-2000)," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 139-178.
    39. Shin, Yongcheol, 1994. "A Residual-Based Test of the Null of Cointegration Against the Alternative of No Cointegration," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 91-115, March.
    40. Cleveland, Cutler J. & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Stern, David I., 2000. "Aggregation and the role of energy in the economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 301-317, February.
    41. Choi, In & Saikkonen, Pentti, 2010. "Tests For Nonlinear Cointegration," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(03), pages 682-709, June.
    42. Hirtle, Beverly, 2009. "Credit derivatives and bank credit supply," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 125-150, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrzej T. Szablewski, 2015. "Czy rozwijać energetykę jądrową w Polsce?," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 1, pages 27-54.
    2. Stephen Littlechild, 2012. "Regulation and Customer Engagement," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    3. Littlechild, S., 2011. "Regulation, customer protection and customer engagement," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1142, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Ma, Hengyun & Oxley, Les & Gibson, John, 2009. "Gradual reforms and the emergence of energy market in China: Evidence from tests for convergence of energy prices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4834-4850, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aen:journl:dn-se-a04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Williams). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.