IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Politics, institutions, and outcomes: Electricity regulation in Argentina and Chile

  • William B. Heller
  • Mathew D. McCubbins
Registered author(s):

    Risk, whether market or political, is an important determinant of private investment decisions. One important risk, subject to control by the government, is the risk associated with the hold-up problem: governments can force utilities to shoulder burdensome taxes, to use input factors ineffectively, or to charge unprofitable rates for their service. To attract private investment governments must be able to make commitments to policies that are nonexpropriative (either to contracts that guarantee very high rates of return or to favorable regulatory policies). These commitments, of course, must be credible. Judgments about the credibility of commitments to regulatoty policies are based upon two political factors: regulatory predictability and regime stability. Regulatory predictability implies that the regulatory process, in which prices and levels of service are set, is not arbitrary. If the condition of regulatory predictability holds, then investors can forecast their returns over time and hence can calculate the value of their investment. If there is regime stability, then there is minimal risk of wholesale changes in the way the government regulates the industry—the most extreme type of change being the denial of property rights, or expropriation. We argue that three characteristics of the regulatory process are, in turn, important determinants of regulatory predictability: agenda control, reversionary regulatory policy, and veto gates. Moreover, regime stability is also, in part, a function of these three characteristics. We examine our theory of political risk and regulatoty commitment by comparing the cases of Argentine and Chilean electricity investment and regulation.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Policy Reform.

    Volume (Year): 1 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 357-387

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:1:y:1996:i:4:p:357-387
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:1:y:1996:i:4:p:357-387. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.