Incentive Regulation and Competition in Public Utility Markets: A 20-Year Perspective
Over the last 20 years, incentives in general and price caps in particular have breathed new life into public utility regulation. Price caps successfully combine incentives for cost reduction with incentives for more efficient pricing. These properties also facilitate opening public utility sectors to competition. Relatively tight price caps likely imply the right amount of competition, when the underlying natural market structure is unknown. While price caps make a regulated incumbent competitively more aggressive, this aggression is likely to improve on the unregulated outcome. Potentially anticompetitive behavior by the incumbent has led to regulation of essential inputs on the basis of benchmarked costs. Benchmarked costs should evolve into price caps for essential inputs and eventually lead to partial deregulation of end-user prices. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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