Pricing and Price Regulation: An Economic Theory for Public Enterprises and Public Utilities

This clear, precisely written text presents an important branch of the modern, microeconomically based theory of industrial organisation and of public finance, utilising calculus only. Answers are provided to some pertinent economic questions, such as the pricing policies of vote-seeking politicians, of empire-building bureaucrats and of out-put-maximizing and energy-saving public utilities. These policies are compared with the welfare economic benchmark rules e.g. on marginal cost pricing and Ramsey pricing. Great significance is attached to price regulation. The book elucidates the recent replacement of rate of return regulation by price-cap regulation. It also explains why many simple rules like yardstick regulation fail to achieve optimal prices, which shows how complicated it is to induce managers to truthfully reveal their private information. How this can be achieved properly is shown in various principal-agent models on regulation with uncertain costs, uncertain demand and with soft budget constraints.