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Regulating a Multi-Utility Firm

  • Calzolari, Giacomo
  • Scarpa, Carlo

We study the regulation of a utility firm which is active in a competitive unregulated sector as well. If the firm jointly operates its activities in the two markets, it enjoys economies of scope, whose size is the firm’s private information and is unknown to the regulator and the rival firms. We jointly characterize the unregulated market outcome (with price and quantity competition) and also optimal regulation. Accounting for the several effects of regulation on the unregulated market, we show the existence of an informational externality, in that regulation provides useful information to the rival firms. Although joint operation of multi-utility’s activities generates scope economies, it also brings about private information to the multi-utility, so that regulation is less efficient and also the unregulated market may be negatively affected. Nevertheless, we show that letting the multi-utility integrate productions is (socially) desirable, unless joint production is instead characterized by dis-economies of scope.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6238.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6238
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  1. Giacomo Calzolari & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "On the Optimality of Privacy in Sequential Contracting," Discussion Papers 1394, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  3. Iossa, Elisabetta, 1999. "Informative Externalities and Pricing in Regulated Multiproduct Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 195-219, June.
  4. Brennan, Timothy J, 1990. "Cross-Subsidization and Cost Misallocation by Regulated Monopolists," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 37-51, March.
  5. Leggio, Karyl B & Lien, Donald, 2000. "Mergers in the Electric Utility Industry in a Deregulatory Environment," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 69-85, January.
  6. Berry, S Keith, 2000. "Excess Returns in Electric Utility Mergers during Transition to Competition," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 175-88, September.
  7. Calzolari, Giacomo, 2001. "The Theory and Practice of Regulation with Multinational Enterprises," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 191-211, September.
  8. Sakai, Yasuhiro, 1985. "The value of information in a simple duopoly model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 36-54, June.
  9. Brennan, Timothy J & Palmer, Karen, 1994. "Comparing the Costs and Benefits of Diversification by Regulated Firms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 115-36, May.
  10. Calzolari, Giacomo & Scarpa, Carlo, 2007. "Footloose Monopolies: Regulating a "National Champion"," CEPR Discussion Papers 6413, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, June.
  12. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1989. "An Informational Effect When Regulated Firms Enter Unregulated Markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 35-45, March.
  13. de Fraja, Giovanni & Delbono, Flavio, 1990. " Game Theoretic Models of Mixed Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17.
  14. Sappington, David E. M., 2003. "Regulating horizontal diversification," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 291-315, March.
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