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Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Demand and Cost Functions

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  • Tracy R. Lewis
  • David E.M. Sappington

Abstract

We consider the design of regulatory policy when the regulator is imperfectly informed about both the firm's cost function and the demand function it faces. To some extent the optimal policy here is the natural "combination" of the optimal policies when there is uncertainty only about either demand or cost. Important qualitative differences also exist, however. For example, it may be optimal to set prices below marginal cost, and the pricing authority delegated to the firm may be more limited when there is uncertainty about both cost and demand.

Suggested Citation

  • Tracy R. Lewis & David E.M. Sappington, 1988. "Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Demand and Cost Functions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 438-457, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:19:y:1988:i:autumn:p:438-457
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-641, June.
    2. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    3. Michael H. Riordan, 1984. "On Delegating Price Authority to a Regulated Firm," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 108-115, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prieger, James E. & Sanders, Nicholas J., 2012. "Verifiable and non-verifiable anonymous mechanisms for regulating a polluting monopolist," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 410-426.
    2. Robert Gary‐Bobo & Yossi Spiegel, 2006. "Optimal state‐contingent regulation under limited liability," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 431-448, June.
    3. Aguirre, Iñaki & Beitia, Arantza, 2017. "Modelling countervailing incentives in adverse selection models: A synthesis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 82-89.
    4. Armstrong, Mark, 1999. "Optimal Regulation with Unknown Demand and Cost Functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 196-215, February.
    5. Iossa, Elisabetta & Stroffolini, Francesca, 2002. "Price cap regulation and information acquisition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 1013-1036, September.
    6. van Egteren, Henry, 1996. "Regulating an externality-generating public utility: A multi-dimensional screening approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1773-1797, December.
    7. Barelli, Paulo & Basov, Suren & Bugarin, Mauricio & King, Ian, 2014. "On the optimality of exclusion in multi-dimensional screening," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 74-83.
    8. Jørgensen, Finn & Santos, Georgina, 2014. "Charges on transport – To what extent are they passed on to users?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 183-195.
    9. Sand, Jan Y., 2012. "Infrastructure quality regulation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 310-319.

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