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Regulatory Risk under Optimal Incentive Regulation

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  • Roland Strausz

Abstract

The paper provides a tractable, analytical framework to study regulatory risk under optimal incentive regulation. Regulatory risk is captured by uncertainty about the policy variables in the regulator’s objective function: weights attached to profits and costs of public funds. Results are as follows: 1) The regulator’s reaction to regulatory risk depends on the curvature of the aggregate demand function. 2) It yields a positive information rent effect exactly when demand is convex. 3) Firms benefit from regulatory risk exactly when demand is convex. 4) Consumers’ risk preferences tend to contradict the firm’s. 5) Benevolent regulators always prefer regulatory risk and these preferences may contradict both the firm’s and consumers’ preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland Strausz, 2009. "Regulatory Risk under Optimal Incentive Regulation," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2009-006, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2009-006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Strausz, Roland, 2006. "Deterministic versus stochastic mechanisms in principal-agent models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 306-314, May.
    2. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
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    5. Armstrong, Mark & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    6. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1990. "Adverse Selection and Renegotiation in Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 597-625.
    7. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-641, June.
    8. Pindyck, Robert S, 1988. "Irreversible Investment, Capacity Choice, and the Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 969-985, December.
    9. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Mayo, 2005. "Regulatory Opportunism and Investment Behavior: Evidence from the U.S. Electric Utility Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 628-644, Autumn.
    10. Paolo M. Panteghini & Carlo Scarpa, 2003. "Irreversible Investments and Regulatory Risk," CESifo Working Paper Series 934, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Paul A. Samuelson, 1972. "The Consumer Does Benefit from Feasible Price Stability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(3), pages 476-493.
    12. David J. Salant & Glenn A. Woroch, 1992. "Trigger Price Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 29-51, Spring.
    13. Hayne E. Leland, 1968. "Saving and Uncertainty: The Precautionary Demand for Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 465-473.
    14. Richard J. Gilbert & David M. Newbery, 1994. "The Dynamic Efficiency of Regulatory Constitutions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(4), pages 538-554, Winter.
    15. Chang, Mo Ahn & Thompson, Howard E, 1989. "An Analysis of Some Aspects of Regulatory Risk and the Required Rate of Return for Public Utilities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 241-257, September.
    16. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    17. Hartman, Richard, 1972. "The effects of price and cost uncertainty on investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 258-266, October.
    18. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Roland Strausz, 2009. "The Political Economy of Regulatory Risk," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2009-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    2. Michael Funke & Marc Gronwald, 2009. "A Convex Hull Approach to Counterfactual Analysis of Trade Openness and Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2692, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Michał Grajek & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2012. "Regulation and Investment in Network Industries: Evidence from European Telecoms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 189-216.
    4. Barbara Choroś & Wolfgang Härdle & Ostap Okhrin, 2009. "CDO and HAC," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2009-038, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    5. Maria Grith & Wolfgang Härdle & Juhyun Park, 2009. "Shape invariant modelling pricing kernels and risk aversion," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2009-041, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal incentive regulation; regulatory risk; procurement; information rents;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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