Today in my antitrust and regulation class we talked about natural monopoly theory and what drives the natural monopoly cost structure. A lot of times in practical conversation with regulators and industry we talk about economies of scale, the decrease in average cost of production as the quantity produced increases, as being the main factor… More Economies of scope are underappreciated
Cass Sunstein begins: With respect to the past and future of regulation, there are two truly indispensable ideas. Unfortunately, they are in serious tension with one another. Potential solutions lie in three reforms, all connected with democracy itself – but perhaps not quite in the way that most people think. The first indispensable idea is… More Cass Sunstein on regulatory analysis and the knowledge problem
Technological change is disruptive, and in the long sweep of human history, that disruption is one of the fundamental sources of economic growth and what Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Enrichment: In 1800 the average income per person…all over the planet was…an average of $3 a day. Imagine living in present-day Rio or Athens or… More Technological change, culture, and a “social license to operate”
Friend of Knowledge Problem Geoff Manne had a thorough opinion piece in Wired yesterday on the FCC’s Title II Internet designation. Well worth reading. From the “be careful what you wish for” department: Title II (which, recall, is the basis for the catch-all) applies to all “telecommunications services”—not just ISPs. Now, every time an internet… More Geoff Manne in Wired on FCC Title II
As the consequences of the FCC vote to classify the Internet as a Title II service start to sink in, here are a couple of good commentaries you may not have seen. Jeffrey Tucker’s political economy analysis of the Title II vote as a power grab is one of the best overall analyses of the… More FCC Title II and raising rivals’ costs
For the firms in regulated industries, for the regulators, for their customers, does the theory underlying the applied regulation matter? I think it matters a lot, even down in the real-world trenches of doing regulation, because regulation’s theoretical foundation influences what regulators and firms do and how they do it. Think about a traditional regulated… More Why does a theory of competition matter for electricity regulation?
Unless you follow the electricity industry you may not be aware of the past year’s discussion of the impending “utility death spiral”, ably summarized in this Clean Energy Group post: There have been several reports out recently predicting that solar + storage systems will soon reach cost parity with grid-purchased electricity, thus presenting the first… More The “utility death spiral”: The utility as a regulatory creation