NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Setting the X Factor in Price Cap Regulation Plans

Jeffrey I. Bernstein, David E. M. Sappington

NBER Working Paper No. 6622
Issued in June 1998
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Despite the popularity of price cap regulation in practice, the economic literature provides relatively little guidance on how to determine the X factor, which is the rate at which inflation -adjusted output prices must fall under price cap plans. We review the standard principles that inform the choice of the X factor, and then consider important extensions. We analyze appropriate modifications of the X factor: (1) when only a subset of the firm's products are subject to price cap regulation, and when product-specific costs and productivity cannot be measured; (2) when the pricing decisions of the regulated firm affect the economy-wide inflation rate; and (3) in the presence of structural changes in the industry, such as a strengthening of competitive forces.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6622

Published: Journal of Regulatory Economics, Vol. 16 (1999): 5-25. citation courtesy of

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