Price Regulation and the Commitment Problem: Can Limited Capture be Beneficial?
We consider two aspects of the commitment problem in price regulation with lobbying the ratchet effect and the hold-up problem. We set out a dynamic model of price regulation with asymmetric information where the regulated firm can ‘buy influence’ in a lobbying equilibrium. Firms can sink non-contractible, cost-reducing investment but regulators cannot commit to future price levels. We fully characterize the perfect Bayesian equilibrium and show that the lobbying equilibrium can both ameliorate the ratchet effect and improve investment incentives by credibly offering the firm future rent. Simulations indicate significant welfare gains are possible from these two effects and that a range of lobbying outcomes can achieve this result.
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- 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.
- Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Martimort, David, 2003. " Regulatory Inertia," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 413-437, Autumn.
- Levine, Paul L & Rickman, Neil, 2002.
"Price Regulation, Investment and the Commitment Problem,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3200, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Paul Levine & Neil Rickman, 2003. "Price Regulation, Investment and the Commitment Problem," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0603, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
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