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Investment Incentives under Price-Cap Regulation

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DOI: 10.4236/tel.2012.25105    6,097 Downloads   7,820 Views   Citations
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In the literature on price regulation, the price-cap mechanism is seen as a very powerful incentive mechanism towards efficiency improvements. What about quality investments? The empirical literature is not univocal: Some studies suggest a deterioration of quality, while others do not find any statistically significant impact. We analyze the incentive provided by price-cap regulation in a setting in which the investment decisions of the regulated firm suffer from hold-up, and contacts are incomplete. We show that the incentives to invest in cost-saving innovations can be fostered by a price-cap contract with a “sufficient” regulatory lag, while for other types of investments, such as quality enhancement, the same contract does not help. Furthermore, we show that if the firm faces a binding resource constraint the price-cap contract generates a crowding-out effect between the two types of investment. This might explain the non univocal empirical evidence.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

D. Bartolini, "Investment Incentives under Price-Cap Regulation," Theoretical Economics Letters, Vol. 2 No. 5, 2012, pp. 570-575. doi: 10.4236/tel.2012.25105.


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