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Risk, price regulation, and irreversible investment

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  • Evans, Lewis T.
  • Guthrie, Graeme A.

Abstract

We show that regulators' price-setting rate base and allowed rate of return decisions are inextricably linked. Once regulators switch from traditional rate of return regulation the irreversibility of much infrastructure investment significantly alters the results of the usual approach to price-setting as exemplified by Marshall Yawitz and Greenberg (1981). In particular the practice of 'optimizing' inefficient assets out of the regulated firm's rate base as in total element long-run incremental cost (TELRIC) calculations in telecommunications exposes the firm to demand risk. The firm requires an economically-significant premium for bearing this risk and this premium is an increasing function of the unsystematic risk of demand shocks. In addition we argue that if the firm is to break even under incentive regulation then the level of the rate base will not generally equal the optimized replacement cost.
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  • Evans, Lewis T. & Guthrie, Graeme A., 2005. "Risk, price regulation, and irreversible investment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 109-128, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:23:y:2005:i:1-2:p:109-128
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    Cited by:

    1. Blum, Ulrich & Growitsch, Christian & Krap, Niels, 2006. "Network Investment and the Threat of Regulation – Preventing Monopoly Exploitation or Infrastructure Construction?," IWH Discussion Papers 7/2006, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    2. Moretto, Michele & Panteghini, Paolo M. & Scarpa, Carlo, 2008. "Profit sharing and investment by regulated utilities: A welfare analysis," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 315-337, December.
    3. Guthrie, Graeme, 2012. "Regulated prices and real options," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 650-663.
    4. Neumann, Karl-Heinz & Vogelsang, Ingo, 2013. "How to price the unbundled local loop in the transition from copper to fiber access networks?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 893-909.
    5. Lewis Evans & Graeme Guthrie, 2006. "Incentive Regulation of Prices When Costs are Sunk," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 239-264, May.
    6. Dominik Schober & Stephan Schaeffler & Christoph Weber, 2014. "Idiosyncratic risk and the cost of capital: the case of electricity networks," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 123-151, October.
    7. Evans, Lewis, 2005. "The Efficiency Test under Competition Law and Regulation in Small Distant Open Economy that is New Zealand," Working Paper Series 3863, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    8. Peter Broer & Gijsbert Zwart, 2013. "Optimal regulation of lumpy investments," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 177-196, October.
    9. Schober, Dominik & Schäffler, Stephan & Weber, Christoph, 2014. "Idiosyncratic risk and the cost of capital: The case of electricity networks," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-010, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    10. Ian Dobbs, 2011. "Modeling welfare loss asymmetries arising from uncertainty in the regulatory cost of finance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-28, February.
    11. Andrea Gavosto & Guido Ponte & Carla Scaglioni, 2007. "Investment in Next Generation Networks and the Role of Regulation: A Real Option Approach," Working Papers Department of Economics 2007/31, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    12. Ingo Vogelsang, 2012. "Incentive Regulation, Investments and Technological Change," Chapters,in: Regulation and the Performance of Communication and Information Networks, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Alain Fayard & David Meunier & Emile Quinet, 2012. "Motorway Provision and Management in France: Analyses and Policy Issues," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 299-319, June.
    14. Hahn, Robert & Evans, Lewis, 2010. "Regulating Dynamic Markets: Progress in Theory and Practice," Working Paper Series 4052, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    15. Jamasb, Tooraj & Pollitt, Michael, 2008. "Liberalisation and R&D in network industries: The case of the electricity industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 995-1008, July.

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