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Testing Theories of Agency Behavior: Evidence from Hydropower Project Relicensing Decisions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


  • Michael R. Moore
  • Elizabeth B. Maclin
  • David W. Kershner


Theories of agency behavior are examined via an application to hydropower project relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In the relicensing of each project, fish and wildlife agencies submit recommendations to FERC. FERC then enters a twostage deliberation process for each recommendation. Econometric analysis of these decisions covers 933 recommendations made for 72 projects relicensed during 1980± 96. A new law (the Electric Consumers Protection Act) substantially altered FERC’ s decisions, while a new administration (the Clinton administration) exerted a mixed effect. Both events influenced the number of recommendations per project made by the fish and wildlife agencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Moore & Elizabeth B. Maclin & David W. Kershner, 2001. "Testing Theories of Agency Behavior: Evidence from Hydropower Project Relicensing Decisions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(3), pages 423-442.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:77:y:2001:i:3:p:423-442

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krupnick, Alan J. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1996. "The social costs of electricity: Do the numbers add up?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 423-466, December.
    2. Rowe, Robert D. & Lang, Carolyn M. & Chestnut, Lauraine G., 1996. "Critical factors in computing externalities for electricity resources," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 363-394, December.
    3. Banzhaf, H. Spencer & Desvousges, William H. & Johnson, F. Reed, 1996. "Assessing the externalities of electricity generation in the Midwest," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 395-421, December.
    4. Richard A. Posner, 1974. "Theories of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 335-358, Autumn.
    5. Ando, Amy, 1998. "Delay on the Path to the Endangered Species List: Do Costs and Benefits Matter," Discussion Papers dp-97-43-rev, Resources For the Future.
    6. Andrew Metrick & Martin L. Weitzman, 1996. "Patterns of Behavior in Endangered Species Preservation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-16.
    7. Weingast, Barry R & Moran, Mark J, 1983. "Bureaucratic Discretion or Congressional Control? Regulatory Policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 765-800, October.
    8. repec:reg:rpubli:98 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Gowan, Charles & Stephenson, Kurt & Shabman, Leonard, 2006. "The role of ecosystem valuation in environmental decision making: Hydropower relicensing and dam removal on the Elwha River," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 508-523, April.
    2. Lopamudra Chakraborti & Kenneth E. McConnell, 2012. "Does Ambient Water Quality Affect the Stringency of Regulations? Plant-Level Evidence of the Clean Water Act," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(3), pages 518-535.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy


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