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Lobbying and Regulation in a Political Economy: Evidence from the US Cellular Industry

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  • Tomaso Duso

Abstract

This paper develops a political-economy model of price regulation. Firms' lobbying activity for a given regulatory status might generate a simultaneity problem between the effects and the determinants of regulatory decisions. We explicitly model this two way causality, and empirically test our model in the U.S. mobile telecommunications industry. We find support for our approach: Regulatory choice should be considered endogenous. Accounting for the simultaneity bias, we show that regulation, whenever it actually took place, did not reduce significantly cellular tariffs. However, it would have been more effective if applied in those markets which have not been regulated. To explain this finding, we show that firms' lobbying activity on regulatory choice has been successful, so that firms were able to avoid regulation in those markets where it would have been more effective. From the political economy side, we provide evidence that the probability of price regulation was higher, ceteris paribus, when the regulator was elected by politicians, when the state's governor came from the Republican Party, when the government was politically stable, and when the regulation's opportunity costs were low. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG: (Lobbying und Regulierung in einer politischen Ökonomie: Evidenz aus der US-amerikanischen Mobilfunk-Industrie) In diesem Beitrag wird ein polit-ökonomisches Modell der Preisregulierung entwickelt. Es wird explizit berücksichtigt, dass die Unternehmen die Regulierungsentscheidung der Aufsichtsbehörde beeinflussen können, um ihre Interessen zu vertreten, und deswegen kann ein Simultaneitätsproblem zwischen den Determinanten und den Wirkungen der Regulierungsentscheidung entstehen. Anhand von US-amerikanischen Daten für die Mobilfunk-Industrie (1984-1988) kann die Hypothese, dass die Regulierungsentscheidung endogen durch das Verhalten der Unternehmen am Markt mitbestimmt wird, nicht verworfen werden. Bei Berücksichtigung dieser Simultaneität kann gezeigt werden, dass die Regulierung die Mobilfunktarife nicht stark gesenkt hat, wo sie angewandt wurde. Jedoch zeigt das ökonometrische Modell, dass die Regulierung gerade in solchen Märkten effektiver gewesen wäre, die tatsächlich nicht reguliert wurden. Dieses Phänomen lässt sich durch die Theorie des Lobbying erklären. Bewirkt Regulierung große Preissenkungen, so haben die Unternehmen einen großen Anreiz durch Lobbying eine Regulierung der Mobilfunktarife abzuwehren, mit der Wirkung, dass seltener reguliert wird. Sind die Wirkungen der Regulierung hingegen gering, so sind auch die Lobbying-Anreize klein und Regulierung wird häufiger beobachtet. Außerdem zeigt sich, dass die Regulierungswahrscheinlichkeit eines Marktes - ceteris paribus - stieg, wenn die Regulierungsbehörde von Bürgern gewählt wurde, wenn der Gouverneur des Bundesstaats der republikanischen Partei angehörte, wenn die Regierung politisch stabil war und wenn die Opportunitätskosten der Regulierung gering waren.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomaso Duso, 2001. "Lobbying and Regulation in a Political Economy: Evidence from the US Cellular Industry," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-03, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  • Handle: RePEc:wzb:wzebiv:fsiv01-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tomaso Duso & Astrid Jung, 2012. "Product Market Competition and Lobbying Coordination in the U.S. Mobile Telecommunications Industry," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 177-201, June.
    2. Bortolotti, Bernardo & Cambini, Carlo & Rondi, Laura, 2013. "Reluctant regulation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 804-828.
    3. Axel Dreher & Lars-H. Siemers, 2009. "The nexus between corruption and capital account restrictions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 245-265, July.
    4. Joan-Ramon Borrell & Mara Tolosa, 2008. "Endogenous antitrust: cross-country evidence on the impact of competition-enhancing policies on productivity," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(11), pages 827-831.
    5. Duso, Tomaso & Seldeslachts, Jo, 2010. "The political economy of mobile telecommunications liberalization: Evidence from the OECD countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 199-216, June.
    6. Michael Schmidthaler & Jed Cohen & Johannes Reichl & Stefan Schmidinger, 2015. "The effects of network regulation on electricity supply security: a European analysis," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 285-316, December.
    7. Christos Genakos & Tommaso M. Valletti & Frank Verboven, 2017. "Evaluating Market Consolidation in Mobile Communications," CESifo Working Paper Series 6509, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Guerriero, Carmine, 2013. "The political economy of incentive regulation: Theory and evidence from US states," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 91-107.
    9. Guerriero, Carmine, 2011. "Accountability in government and regulatory policies: Theory and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 453-469.
    10. 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.
    11. Evans, Joanne & Levine, Paul & Trillas, Francesc, 2008. "Lobbies, delegation and the under-investment problem in regulation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-40, January.
    12. Marzano, Riccardo, 2015. "One more ride on the merry-go-round! Public ownership and delayed competition in local public services," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 981-996.
    13. Michael Reksulak, 2010. "Antitrust public choice(s)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(3), pages 423-428, March.
    14. Christos Genakos & Tommaso Valletti, 2011. "Testing The “Waterbed” Effect In Mobile Telephony," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(6), pages 1114-1142, December.
    15. John M. de Figueiredo & Brian Kelleher Richter, 2013. "Advancing the Empirical Research on Lobbying," NBER Working Papers 19698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Tomaso Duso, 2002. "On the Politics of the Regulatory Reform: Econometric Evidence from the OECD Countries," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-07, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    17. Toivanen, Otto, 2004. "Choosing Standards," Discussion Papers 937, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    18. Erkan Erdogdu, 2014. "The Political Economy of Electricity Market Liberalization: A Cross-country Approach," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    19. Duso, Tomaso & Roller, Lars-Hendrik, 2003. "Endogenous deregulation: evidence from OECD countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 67-71, October.
    20. Antonio Estache & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2011. "Anti-Corruption Policy in Theories of Sector Regulation," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Volume Two, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    21. Tomaso Duso & Astrid Jung, 2007. "Market Conduct and Endogenous Lobbying: Evidence from the U.S. Mobile Telecommunications Industry," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 9-29, March.
    22. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2013. "Essays on Electricity Market Reforms: A Cross-Country Applied Approach," MPRA Paper 47139, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. repec:kap:revind:v:50:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11151-016-9556-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. repec:eee:corfin:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:51-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Brown, Richard S., 2016. "Lobbying, political connectedness and financial performance in the air transportation industry," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 61-69.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price Regulation; Political Economy; Lobbying Activity; Simultaneity Bias; Endogenous witching Regression; Mobile Telecommunications; U.S.;

    JEL classification:

    • C34 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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