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The Impact of "Deregulation" on Regulator Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

  • Gregory L. Rosston


    (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)

  • Scott J. Savage


    (Department of Economics, University of Colorado)

  • Bradley S. Wimmer


    (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Registered author(s):

    This paper examines how regulators set local prices in response to the changes brought on by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (“Telecom Act”). We are particularly interested in the extent to which state regulators set prices that promoted efficiency or were influenced by private-interest groups who had secured rents under a regime of regulated monopoly. Using regional Bell operating company (RBOC) data, our empirical results indicate that private interests continue to influence the structure of retail and wholesale prices, although their influence appears to be waning. We find that changes to the regulatory structure, as measured by federal approval of RBOC Section 271 applications that open up markets to competition and universal service subsidies, resulted in a re-balancing of retail prices and lower overall price levels.

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    Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 05-006.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:05-006
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    4. Gifford Raymond L., 2003. "Regulatory Impressionism: What Regulators Can and Cannot Do," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(4), pages 1-14, December.
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    12. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2002. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 9090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Karen Palmer, 1992. "A Test for Cross Subsidies in Local Telephone Rates: Do Business Customers Subsidize Residential Customers?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 415-431, Autumn.
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    15. Eriksson, Ross C & Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 1998. "Targeted and Untargeted Subsidy Schemes: Evidence from Postdivestiture Efforts to Promote Universal Telephone Service," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 477-502, October.
    16. Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W & Flynn, Joseph E, 1990. "Cross-Subsidization in Telecommunications: Beyond the Universal Service Fairy Tale," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-49, September.
    17. Daniel Ackerberg & Michael Riordan & Gregory Rosston & Bradley Wimmer, 2008. "Low-Income Demand for Local Telephone Service: Effects of Lifeline and Linkup," Discussion Papers 07-032, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    18. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
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