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The Effect of Private Interests on Regulated Retail and Wholesale Prices

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  • Gregory L. Rosston
  • Scott J. Savage
  • Bradley S. Wimmer

Abstract

This paper examines how regulators behave in markets when there is a tension between retail competition and cross subsidy. Using retail and wholesale prices from regional Bell operating company territories and price-cost margins as a proxy for political influence, we find that private interests influence the structure of retail prices, especially favoring rural residential customers. Political influence also extends to wholesale access prices, although the magnitude of its effect is small. Federal high-cost universal service payments to a state do not reduce prices in that state's rural areas but instead lower urban business prices. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory L. Rosston & Scott J. Savage & Bradley S. Wimmer, 2008. "The Effect of Private Interests on Regulated Retail and Wholesale Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 479-501, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:51:y:2008:i:3:p:479-501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maher, Maria E., 1999. "Access costs and entry in the local telecommunications network: a case for de-averaged rates," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 593-609, May.
    2. Smart, Susan R, 1994. "The Consequences of Appointment Methods and Party Control for Telecommunications Pricing," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 301-323, Summer.
    3. Abel, Jaison R, 2002. "Entry into Regulated Monopoly Markets: The Development of a Competitive Fringe in the Local Telephone Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 289-316, October.
    4. Thomas W. Ross, 1984. "Uncovering Regulators' Social Welfare Weights," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 152-155, Spring.
    5. Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W & Flynn, Joseph E, 1990. "Cross-Subsidization in Telecommunications: Beyond the Universal Service Fairy Tale," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-249, September.
    6. Peltzman, Sam, 1971. "Pricing in Public and Private Enterprises: Electric Utilities in the United States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 109-147, April.
    7. Randall S. Kroszner & Philip E. Strahan, 1999. "What Drives Deregulation? Economics and Politics of the Relaxation of Bank Branching Restrictions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1437-1467.
    8. Armstrong, Mark & Doyle, Chris & Vickers, John, 1996. "The Access Pricing Problem: A Synthesis," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 131-150, June.
    9. Karen Palmer, 1992. "A Test for Cross Subsidies in Local Telephone Rates: Do Business Customers Subsidize Residential Customers?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 415-431, Autumn.
    10. Gifford Raymond L., 2003. "Regulatory Impressionism: What Regulators Can and Cannot Do," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(4), pages 1-14, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ackerberg, Daniel A. & DeRemer, David R. & Riordan, Michael H. & Rosston, Gregory L. & Wimmer, Bradley S., 2014. "Estimating the impact of low-income universal service programs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 84-98.
    2. Nicholas Bloom & Renata Lemos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2015. "Does Management Matter in schools?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(584), pages 647-674, May.
    3. Berg, Sanford V. & Jiang, Liangliang & Lin, Chen, 2011. "Incentives for cost shifting and misreporting: US rural universal service subsidies, 1991–2002," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 287-295.
    4. Daniel Ackerberg & Michael Riordan & Gregory Rosston & Bradley Wimmer, 2008. "Low-Income Demand for Local Telephone Service: Effects of Lifeline and Linkup," Discussion Papers 07-032, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    5. Jeffrey Macher & John Mayo, 2012. "The World of Regulatory Influence," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 59-79, February.
    6. repec:kap:regeco:v:52:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11149-017-9336-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Pérez Montes, Carlos, 2013. "Regulatory bias in the price structure of local telephone service," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 462-476.
    8. Holt, Lynne & Galligan, Mary, 2013. "Mapping the field: Retrospective of the federal universal service programs," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 773-793.

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