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Universal Service Obligations in LDCs: The Effect of Uniform Pricing on Infrastructure Access


  • Antonio Estache
  • Jean-Jacques Laffont
  • Xinzhu Zhang


This paper develops a model to analyze the impacts of asymmetric information on optimal universal service policy in the public utilities of developing countries. Optimal universal service policy is implemented using two regulatory instruments: pricing and network investment. Under discriminatory pricing asymmetric information leads to a higher price and smaller network in the rural area than under full information. Under uniform pricing the price is also lower but the network is even smaller. In addition, under both pricing regimes not only the firm but also taxpayers have incentives to collude with the regulator. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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  • Antonio Estache & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Xinzhu Zhang, 2006. "Universal Service Obligations in LDCs: The Effect of Uniform Pricing on Infrastructure Access," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/43913, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/43913 Note: SCOPUS: ar.j

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gasmi, F. & Laffont, J. J. & Sharkey, W. W., 2000. "Competition, universal service and telecommunications policy in developing countries," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 221-248, September.
    2. H. Cremer & F. Gasmi & A. Grimaud & J. J. Laffont, 2001. "Universal Service: An economic perspective," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(1), pages 5-43, March.
    3. Eric Maskin, 1999. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38.
    4. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
    5. Omar Chisari & Antonio Estache & Catherine Waddams Price, 2003. "Access by the poor in Latin America's utility reform: subsidies and service obligations," Chapters,in: Utility Privatization and Regulation, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Clarke, George R.G. & Wallsten, Scott J., 2002. "Universal(ly bad) service - providing infrastructure services to rural and poor urban consumers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2868, The World Bank.
    7. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & N'Gbo, Ake, 2000. "Cross-subsidies and network expansion in developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 797-805, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Strand, Jon, 2012. "Low-level versus high-level equilibrium in public utility services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 163-172.
    2. Berg, Sanford V. & Jiang, Liangliang & Lin, Chen, 2011. "Incentives for cost shifting and misreporting: US rural universal service subsidies, 1991–2002," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 287-295.
    3. Stephane Straub, 2011. "Infrastructure and Development: A Critical Appraisal of the Macro-level Literature," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(5), pages 683-708.
    4. Estache, Antonio & Wren-Lewis, Liam, 2010. "What Anti-Corruption Policy Can Learn from Theories of Sector Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Antonio Estache & L. Wren-Lewis, 2008. "Towards a Theory of Regulation for Developing Countries: Following Laffont's Lead," Working Papers ECARES 2008_018, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. repec:eee:ecmode:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:217-228 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jean-Christophe Poudou & Lionel Thomas, 2010. "On optimal regulation of price and R&D with asymmetric information," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 14(3), pages 251-269, September.

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