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Optimal sliding scale regulation: an application to regional electricity distribution in England and Wales

  • David Hawdon
  • Lester C. Hunt
  • Paul Levine
  • Neil Rickman

This paper examines optimal price (i.e. 'sliding scale') regulation of a monopoly when productivity and managerial effort are not observed. We show generally how to operationalize this model of incentive regulation and use actual data from electricity distribution in England and Wales to estimate key parameters and make welfare comparisons of sliding scale regulation with a stylized price cap regime and the First-Best (the full information case). Our method enables us to quantify technical uncertainty as faced by the electricity regulator in the 1990s and shows that there are significant welfare gains from a sliding scale relative to the stylized price cap regime. Copyright 2007 , Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 59 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 458-485

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:59:y:2007:i:3:p:458-485
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  1. Jeffrey I. Bernstein & David E. M. Sappington, 1998. "Setting the X Factor in Price Cap Regulation Plans," NBER Working Papers 6622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Burns, Philip & Turvey, Ralph & Weyman-Jones, Thomas G, 1998. "The Behaviour of the Firm under Alternative Regulatory Constraints," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(2), pages 133-57, May.
  3. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1992. "Regulation by Duopoly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 507-33, Fall.
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  5. Amrstong, Mark & Cowan, Simon & Vickers, John, 1995. "Nonlinear pricing and price cap regulation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 33-55, September.
  6. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
  7. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, June.
  8. Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Sappington, David E. M., 2000. "How to determine the X in RPI-X regulation: a user's guide," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 63-68, February.
  9. Richard Green & Tanga McDaniel, 1998. "Competition in electricity supply: will ‘1998’ Be worth it?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 273-293, August.
  10. Ian M. Dobbs, 2004. "Intertemporal price cap regulation under uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 421-440, 04.
  11. Gasmi, Farid & Ivaldi, Marc & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1992. "Rent Extraction and Incentives for Efficiency in Recent Regulatory Proposals," IDEI Working Papers 21, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Colin Mayer & John Vickers, 1996. "Profit-sharing regulation: an economic appraisal," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, February.
  13. Wilson, Robert, 1997. "Nonlinear Pricing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195115826, March.
  14. Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
  15. Green, Richard, 1999. "The Electricity Contract Market in England and Wales," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 107-24, March.
  16. Gasmi, F & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Sharkey, W W, 1997. "Incentive Regulation and the Cost Structure of the Local Telephone Exchange Network," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 5-25, July.
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