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.
The process of selling assets and enterprises to the private sector raises questions about natural monopolies, the efficiency and equity of state-owned versus privately owned enterprises, and industrial policy. This comprehensive analysis of the British privatization program explores these questions both theoretically and empirically.