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La autonomía de los entes reguladores argentinos: Agua y cloacas, gas natural, energía eléctrica y telecomunicaciones

Listed author(s):
  • Santiago Urbiztondo
  • Fernando Navajas
  • Daniel Artana

Este trabajo presenta un análisis de las relaciones entre el diseño de los Entes Reguladores, el contexto económico en el cual éstos actúan, y la existencia o no de algún tipo de sesgo en sus decisiones. Con ese fin, se examina la ocurrencia o no de distintos factores que se han identificado en el paradigma "principal-agente" tal como éste se aplica a las instituciones políticas en la nueva teoría positiva de la regulación, en cinco casos concretos de la experiencia argentina reciente: los Entes Reguladores de Agua y Cloacas de Buenos Aires, de Transmisión y Distribución de Gas Natural y Energía Eléctrica, y de Telecomunicaciones. Entre los aspectos de diseño, por ejemplo, se considera la composición, estabilidad, financiamiento, supervisión y atribuciones de los Entes, mientras que en lo referido al contexto se analiza el número de empresas reguladas, el grado de competencia entre éstas, la visibilidad de las decisiones del regulador, etc. El número de decisiones regulatorias considerado es relativamente escaso, razón por la cual los resultados obtenidos sólo deben considerarse como preliminares. Las conclusiones que se obtienen de este estudio son que en aquellos casos donde tanto el diseño como el contexto actúan en el mismo sentido, generando el mismo tipo de hipótesis sobre la tendencia en el accionar del regulador, la evidencia observada no contradice lo esperado, y muy por el contrario, tiende a confirmar las hipótesis postuladas. Esto ocurre en los casos de Energía Eléctrica, Gas Natural y Agua y Saneamiento: en los dos primeros, sus decisiones aparecen insesgadas o levemente "oportunistas", mientras que en el último ocurre lo contrario. En el caso de telecomunicaciones, ciertos aspectos del contexto tienden a acentuar los factores de diseño institucional, pero otros elementos del ambiente regulatorio actúan en sentido inverso, con lo cual la predicción teórica es indefinida, aunque en forma previsible en este caso, las decisiones son tomadas en niveles superiores del gobierno. English: The paper looks at the design and context of operation of newly created, formally autonomous, regulatory agencies in different sectors at the federal level in Argentina (including water and sewarage in Buenos Aires, natural gas, electric power and telecommunications). It tries to predict what kind of incentives should be expected of those agencies (i. e. , a more concentrated industry should be expected to be able to better coordinate "transfers" and disclosure of information to the regulator and thus, ceteris paribus, this would imply a consistent bias to favor the industry in the regulator`s use of the discretion enjoyed in interpreting facts to justify decisions, etc. ). The implicit model behind our theory is one of an agent responding to various principals with conflicting objetives, where the principals are less informed than the agent but offer "transfers" linked to results to help the agents internalize their objectives. We then look at actual decisions taken by those agencies (the sample is small, but to our knowledge, unbiased) to see if those expected biases do happen. We conclude preliminarily that they do happen, and thus that design and context of operation of regulatory agencies, all of them sharing the same institutional foundations of the same country at the same historic period, are important for agency behavior (which should be expected, but we do not confirm, impacts upon the regulated firms´ behavior in terms of investment, disclousure of information, cost minimization, etc. ).

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3038.

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Date of creation: Aug 1998
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3038
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  1. Epstein, David & O'Halloran, Sharyn, 1995. "A Theory of Strategic Oversight: Congress, Lobbyists, and the Bureaucracy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 227-255, October.
  2. Lupia, Arthur & McCubbins, Mathew D, 1994. "Learning from Oversight: Fire Alarms and Police Patrols Reconstructed," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 96-125, April.
  3. Joskow, Paul L, 1974. "Inflation and Environmental Concern: Structural Change in the Process of Public Utility Price Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 291-327, October.
  4. de Figueiredo, Rui J P, Jr & Spiller, Pablo T & Urbiztondo, Santiago, 1999. "An Informational Perspective on Administrative Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 283-305, April.
  5. Daniel Artana, Ricardo López Murphy, Fernando Navajas, Santiago Urbiztondo, 1995. "El Relabanceo de las Tarifas Telefónica en la Arentina," Working Papers 48, FIEL.
  6. Noll, Roger G., 1989. "Economic perspectives on the politics of regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1253-1287 Elsevier.
  7. Spiller, Pablo T, 1990. "Politicians, Interest Groups, and Regulators: A Multiple-Principals Agency Theory of Regulation, or "Let Them Be Bribed."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 65-101, April.
  8. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-277, Fall.
  9. Spiller, Pablo T. & Urbiztondo, Santiago, 1994. "Political appointees vs. career civil servants: A multiple principals theory of political bureaucracies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 465-497, October.
  10. Levy, Brian & Spiller, Pablo T, 1994. "The Institutional Foundations of Regulatory Commitment: A Comparative Analysis of Telecommunications Regulation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 201-246, October.
  11. Pablo T. Spiller & Ingo Vogelsang, 1997. "The Institutional Foundations of Regulatory Commitment in the UK: The Case of Telecommunications," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(4), pages 607-607, December.
  12. Sutherland, Ronald J., 1993. "Natural gas contracts in an emerging competitive market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(12), pages 1191-1204, December.
  13. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. "Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-292, October.
  14. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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