Access Price Cap Mechanisms and Industry Structure with Information Acquisition
This paper considers a network industry characterized by an upstream natural monopoly with cost uncertainty, regulated through an access price mechanism, and an unregulated downstream market with Cournot competition. The upstream monopolist can acquire information on the upstream cost while the information acquisition is prohibitively costly for the regulator and downstream firms. The information acquisition is also unobservable. I investigate how the presence of costly and socially valuable information on the upstream cost affects the desirability of allowing the upstream monopolist to produce in the downstream market (integration) rather than excluding it (separation). I show that when the upstream monopolist is regulated only through an access price cap, the information acquisition problem provides an argument in favour of vertical integration. However, when the regulator also obliges the upstream monopolist to share her access profits with consumers, a bias emerges in favour of separation via the impact of the access-profit sharing plan on the upstream monopolist's incentives to transmit information to her rival in the downstream market.
|Date of creation:||01 Jan 2008|
|Publication status:||Published in Rivista di Politica Economica, 2009, issue 1, pp. 209-247|
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