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Regulatory Independence and Political Interference: Evidence from EU Mixed-Ownership Utilities’ Investment and Debt

Author

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  • Carlo Cambini

    (Politecnico di Torino, IMT Lucca and FEEM)

  • Laura Rondi

    (Politecnico di Torino and FEEM)

Abstract

This paper examines the investment and financial decisions of a sample of 92 EU regulated utilities, taking into account key institutional features of EU public utilities, such as: a) regulation by agencies with various degrees of independence; b) partial ownership of the state in the regulated firm; and c) the government’s political orientation, which may ultimately influence the regulatory climate to be either more pro-firm or more pro-consumers. Our results show that regulatory independence matters for both investment and financial decisions. Investment increases under an Independent Regulatory Agency (IRA), while ownership has no effect. Leverage also increases when the IRA is in place, especially so if the regulated firm is privately controlled. Finally political orientation does matter, as firm investment increases under more conservative (pro-firm) governments, but this effect appears to revert when the IRA is in place.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Cambini & Laura Rondi, 2010. "Regulatory Independence and Political Interference: Evidence from EU Mixed-Ownership Utilities’ Investment and Debt," Working Papers 2010.69, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.69
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    Cited by:

    1. Ornella Tarola & Sandro Trento, 2010. "Timing of Investment and Dynamic Pricing in Privatized Sectors," DISA Working Papers 1005, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 20 Oct 2010.
    2. Spiller, Pablo T., 2013. "Transaction cost regulation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 232-242.
    3. Joanne Evans & Paul Levine & Neil Rickman & Francesc Trillas, 2011. "Delegation to Independent Regulators and the Ratchet Effect," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0911, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    4. Magnus Söderberg & Makoto Tanaka, 2012. "Spatial price homogeneity as a mechanism to reduce the threat of regulatory intervention in locally monopolistic sectors," Working Papers hal-00659458, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regulated Utilities; Investment; Capital Structure; Private and State Ownership; Regulatory Independence; overnment’s Political Orientation;

    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L90 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - General

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