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Dynamics of Price Regulation

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  • Gary Biglaiser
  • Michael Riordan

Abstract

We study the dynamics of price regulation for an industry adjusting to exogenous technological progress. First, we characterize the optimal capacity path and replacement cycles in a neoclassical investment model. Second, we show that naive rate-of-return regulation, which ignores components of economic depreciation, eventually results in a deficient level of capacity due to excessively high retail prices burdened by the need to recover the underdepreciated costs of historical investments. Third, we explain how price-cap regulation leads to more efficient capital replacement decisions compared to naive rate-of-return regulation, and we show how finite price-cap horizons distort capital replacement decisions compared to optimal regulation. Finally, we interpret recent regulatory reforms in telecommunications markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Biglaiser & Michael Riordan, 2000. "Dynamics of Price Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 744-767, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:31:y:2000:i:winter:p:744-767
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