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Price-Cap versus Rate-of-Return Regulation in a Stochastic-Cost Model

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  • Ellen M. Pint

Abstract

A stochastic-cost model is used to show that both price-cap and rate-of-return regulation lead to overinvestment in capital and to excessive managerial slack. However, they differ in stochastic versus fixed intervals between hearings and in the use of test-year costs versus average costs since the previous hearing. A numerical example illustrates that fixed intervals between hearings improve welfare if hearings are not held too frequently, but most gains go to the firm. More significantly, the use of average-cost data combined with fixed intervals results in dramatic welfare improvements, with most gains going to consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellen M. Pint, 1992. "Price-Cap versus Rate-of-Return Regulation in a Stochastic-Cost Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(4), pages 564-578, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:23:y:1992:i:winter:p:564-578
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernstein, Jeffrey I & Sappington, David E M, 1999. "Setting the X Factor in Price-Cap Regulation Plans," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 5-25, July.
    2. Grimm Veronika & Zöttl Gregor, 2010. "Price Regulation under Demand Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, June.
    3. Cullmann, Astrid & Nieswand, Maria, 2016. "Regulation and investment incentives in electricity distribution: An empirical assessment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 192-203.
    4. Elisabetta Iossa & Patrick Rey, 2014. "Building Reputation For Contract Renewal: Implications For Performance Dynamics And Contract Duration," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 549-574, June.
    5. Ariel Casarin, 2014. "Productivity throughout regulatory cycles in gas utilities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 115-137, April.
    6. Burns, Phil & Riechmann, Christoph, 2004. "Regulatory instruments and investment behaviour," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 211-219, December.
    7. Ai, Chunrong & Sappington, David E.M., 2005. "Reviewing the impact of incentive regulation on U.S. telephone service quality," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 201-210, September.
    8. Roques, F.A. & Savva , N.S., 2006. "Price Cap Regulation and Investment Incentives under Demand Uncertainty," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0636, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Reynaud, Arnaud & Thomas, Alban, 2013. "Firm's profitability and regulation in water and network industries: An empirical analysis," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-58.
    10. Astrid Cullmann & Maria Nieswand, 2015. "Regulierung und Investitionen in der leitungsgebundenen Energieversorgung," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 54, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Harstad, Bård & Eskeland, Gunnar S., 2010. "Trading for the future: Signaling in permit markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 749-760, October.
    12. Guthrie, Graeme, 2006. "Regulating Infrastructure: The Impact on Risk and Investment," Working Paper Series 3851, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    13. Kopsakangas-Savolainen, Maria & Svento, Rauli, 2010. "Comparing welfare effects of different regulation schemes: An application to the electricity distribution industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7370-7377, November.
    14. Glazer, Amihai, 2001. "Regulatory tune-ups," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 427-438, December.
    15. Cullmann, Astrid & Nieswand, Maria, 2015. "Regulation and Investment Incentives in Electricity Distribution," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113090, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Tahvanainen, Kaisa & Honkapuro, Samuli & Partanen, Jarmo & Viljainen, Satu, 2012. "Experiences of modern rate of return regulation in Finland," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 32-39.
    17. Graeme Guthrie, 2006. "Regulating Infrastructure: The Impact on Risk and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 925-972, December.
    18. Armstrong, Mark & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    19. Roques, Fabien A. & Savva, Nicos, 2009. "Investment under uncertainty with price ceilings in oligopolies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 507-524, February.

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