By Murat R. Sertel (eds.)
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Extra info for Contemporary Economic Issues: Economic Behaviour and Design
Market power in generation can be largely avoided, if the industry is sufficiently large and is to be restructured when privatised, by creating an adequate number of competitors. Green and Newbery (1992) argued that dividing the fossil-fired plant of England and Wales among five companies would have almost eliminated the incentive to exercise market power in the pool, and might have prevented the excess entry of too many independent power producers. Argentina aimed at even greater fragmentation.
The central problem of regulation is to agree a regulatory compact which reassures investors that their sunk capital will be adequately rewarded, even though after it is sunk the opportunity cost of using it is low, and regulators may yield to populist pressure to hold prices down to avoidable cost. Gilbert and Newbery (1994) view the regulatory compact as the outcome of a repeated dynamic game, and compare the robustness of different regulatory regimes against the temptation of regulators to break the regulatory compact.
Historic experience suggests that reforms leading to large redistributions are likely to be delayed long beyond the point of realizing considerable net benefits, which means that reforms to regulatory systems require profound economic or political change. Joskow and Rose (1989) observe that much regulation in the USA dates from the turbulence of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and reforms, particularly the move to deregulate, occurred after the macroeconomic shocks of the 1970s. Another interpretation is that deregulation occurs when the regulatory compact is weakened by excess capacity - the benefits of competition outweigh the needs to reassure investors that their investment will be adequately rewarded (Gilbert and Newbery, 1994).
Contemporary Economic Issues: Economic Behaviour and Design by Murat R. Sertel (eds.)