Regulatory reform had its beginnings in the United States in the 1970s, and today it is taking place around the globe. One of the central questions for industrial policy is how to regulate firms with market power. Regulatory Reform tackles this important policy issue in two parts: it describes an analytical framework for studying the main issues in regulatory reform, and then applies the analysis to the British experience in four utility industries—telecommunications, gas, electricity, and water supply.
Britain's utility industries, state-owned monopolies just ten years ago, offer a dramatic example of comprehensive reforms with parallels elsewhere: industries have been restructured, markets have been liberalized, and new regulatory methods and institutions have been created. The authors focus on common policy questions that arise in each industry while taking into account the considerable diversity between the industries and the different reform policies adopted.
The analysis and experience in Britain's utility industries also provides a rich variety of issues concerning monopolistic and anticompetitive practices that are of interest for competition policy in general.
Regulation of Economic Activity series
About the Authors
Mark Armstrong is Professor of Economics and Director of the ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE). He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Co-editor of the RAND Journal of Economics, and Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Review of Economic Studies.
Simon Cowan is University Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics at Oxford.
Sir John Vickers is Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University.