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Optimal state-contingent regulation under limited liability

  • R. Gary-Bobo
  • Y. Spiegel

We consider an optimal regulation model in which the regulated firm’s production cost is subject to random, publicly observable shocks. The distribution of these shocks is correlated with the firm’s cost type, which is private information. The regulator designs an incentive compatible regulatory scheme that adjusts itself automatically ex-post given the realization of the cost shock. We derive the optimal scheme, assuming that there is an upper bound on the financial losses that the firm can sustain in any given state. We first consider a two-types, two-states case, and then extend the results to the case of a continuum of firm types and an arbitrary finite number of states. We show that the first best allocation can be implemented if the state of nature conveys enough information about the firm’s type and (or) the maximal loss that the firm can sustain is sufficiently large. Otherwise, the solution is characterized by classical second-best features.

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Paper provided by THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise in its series THEMA Working Papers with number 2003-09.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:2003-09
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  1. Paul L. Joskow, 2001. "California's Electricity Crisis," NBER Working Papers 8442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean Tirole & Jean-Jaques Laffont, 1985. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Working papers 368, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  10. Robert, Jacques, 1991. "Continuity in auction design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 169-179, October.
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  12. Steven R. Williams & Georgia Kosmopoulou, 1998. "The robustness of the independent private value model in Bayesian mechanism design," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 393-421.
  13. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Endogenous Punishments In Agency With Verifiable Ex Post Information ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1207-1231, November.
  14. Dominique M. Demougin & Devon A. Garvie, 1991. "Contractual Design with Correlated Information under Limited Liability," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 477-489, Winter.
  15. Riordan, Michael H. & Sappington, David E. M., 1988. "Optimal contracts with public ex post information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 189-199, June.
  16. Yossef Spiegel & Daniel F. Spulber, 1994. "The Capital Structure of a Regulated Firm," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 424-440, Autumn.
  17. Anke Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann & Patrick Schmitz, 2000. "Optimal Contracting with Verifiable Ex Post Signals," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse19_2000, University of Bonn, Germany.
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