IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Bigger and Better: A Dynamic Regulatory Mechanism for Optimum Quality


  • De Fraja, Gianni
  • Iozzi, Alberto


Vogelsang and Finsinger’s seminal paper (Bell Journal of Economics, 1979) proposes a mechanism for price regulation with some desirable properties, such as convergence to a second best optimum. This mechanism applies to situations where quality is fixed: in practice, quality can be varied by the firm, and regulators have typically imposed constraints on the firm’s quality choice. This Paper lays a rigorous theoretical foundation to the inclusion of quality measures in the constraints faced by a regulated firm. We identify a potential pitfall in the approach taken in practice by regulators, and show that, in order to avoid it, the regulated firm should be subject to an additional constraint, which, loosely speaking, requires firms’ choices not to be too erratic.

Suggested Citation

  • De Fraja, Gianni & Iozzi, Alberto, 2004. "Bigger and Better: A Dynamic Regulatory Mechanism for Optimum Quality," CEPR Discussion Papers 4502, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4502

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Maurice Obstfeld, 2005. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 110-137, March.
    2. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2006. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Commitment with a Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1877-1905, October.
    3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2000. "Algorithms for solving dynamic models with occasionally binding constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1179-1232, July.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    5. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "Expectation Traps and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 715-741.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Angela S. Bergantino & Etienne Billette de Villemeur & Annalisa Vinella, 2006. "A Model of Partial Regulation in the Maritime Ferry Industry," SERIES 0010, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Jan 2006.
    2. Gui, Benedetto & de Villemeur, Étienne, 2007. "Regulation of a Monopoly Generating Externalities," IDEI Working Papers 469, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jan 2011.
    3. Cesi Berardino & Iozzi Alberto & Valentini Edilio, 2012. "Regulating Unverifiable Quality by Fixed-Price Contracts," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-39, September.
    4. Stéphane Auray & Thomas Mariotti & Fabien Moizeau, 2006. "Dynamic Regulation of Public Good Quality," Cahiers de recherche 0610, CIRPEE.
    5. Luigi Benfratello & Alberto Iozzi & Paola Valbonesi, 2009. "Technology and incentive regulation in the Italian motorways industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 201-221, April.
    6. Carlo Cambini & Elena Fumagalli & Laura Rondi, 2016. "Incentives to quality and investment: evidence from electricity distribution in Italy," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 1-32, February.
    7. David Sappington & Dennis Weisman, 2010. "Price cap regulation: what have we learned from 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 227-257, December.
    8. Stéphane Auray & Thomas Mariotti & Fabien Moizeau, 2011. "Dynamic regulation of quality," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(2), pages 246-265, June.
    9. Gianni De Fraja & Emanuela Michetti & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2011. "Toc 'n' Roll: Bargaining, Service Quality and Specificity in the UK Railway Network," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 45(3), pages 383-414, September.
    10. Kevin Currier, 2006. "Quality-Adjusted Laspeyres Price Caps: A Graphical Analysis," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(4), pages 481-490, December.
    11. Saha, Souresh, 2014. "Firm's objective function and product and process R&D," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 484-494.
    12. Armstrong, Mark & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    13. David Sappington, 2005. "Regulating Service Quality: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 123-154, November.

    More about this item


    price cap; quality; regulation; RPI-X;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4502. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.