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Risk and regulation in water utilities: a cross-country comparison of evidence from the CAPM

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  • Roger Buckland

    ()

  • Julian Williams

    ()

  • Janice Beecher

    ()

Abstract

This paper addresses a core issue for the regulated utility: what are the risks taken by investors in companies that supply a product whose supply is regulated? Prior research on returns of regulated water supply and distribution companies concluded that regulation interacts significantly with equity returns and that the systematic risk and hence required returns of water utilities equity were low and decreasing over time (Buckland and Fraser, J Bus Financ Account 28(7–8):877–904, 2001 ). The current research analyses the returns on securities issued by regulated water companies in the differently regulated economies of the UK and the US, using data from 1980 to 2010. Mirroring the results from the 1990s, the evidence suggests that UK regulators have chronically overestimated the systematic risks borne by investors in water utilities, resulting in lax pressure on permitted returns and higher prices than are needed to provoke efficiency. The analysis also confirms that there are striking differences between the regulatory risks and patterns of returns for private sector water utilities in the UK and the US. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Buckland & Julian Williams & Janice Beecher, 2015. "Risk and regulation in water utilities: a cross-country comparison of evidence from the CAPM," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 117-145, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:47:y:2015:i:2:p:117-145
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-014-9261-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Felipe Filgueiras, Elias Cavalcante-Filho, Rodrigo de Losso, José Roberto Savoia, 2019. "Law Change in a Regulated Sector Impacts Other Regulated Sectors: Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2019_27, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    2. Moore, Mark A. & Boardman, Anthony E. & Vining, Aidan R., 2017. "Analyzing risk in PPP provision of utility services: A social welfare perspective," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 210-218.
    3. Gregory, Alan & Hua, Shan & Tharyan, Rajesh, 2018. "In search of beta," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 425-441.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water utilities; CAPM; Risk and regulation; Time-varying risk modelling; G12; G14; G15;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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