‘The Affordability of Utilities’ Services in the EU: Extent, Practice and Policy’

CCP’s Autumn Seminar Series continues on Friday 13th November with our very own David Deller (CCP) evaluating ‘The Affordability of Utilities’ Services in the EU: Extent, Practice and Policy‘. The seminar is based on an extensive research project that David has undertaken with Catherine Waddams (CCP) for the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE). The findings of the project are available here, and an abstract for the seminar can be found below.

Abstract

The affordability of utilities (energy, water, telecoms and transport) is a major issue on European policy agendas. This seminar reports the key findings from a recent research project into this topic conducted for the Centre on Regulation in Europe. Key results are highlighted from the most comprehensive mapping of utility affordability in the EU yet compiled and analysis of household-level expenditure data from countries including the UK, France and the Republic of Ireland. Major findings are the stark differences in expenditure shares devoted to utilities between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Member States and the pitfalls of using high-level affordability metrics to evaluate the performance of policies designed to improve utility affordability. The empirical results will be complemented by overviews of different metrics that can be used to evaluate utility affordability and the effectiveness of policies used to tackle fuel poverty.

 

David’s presentation takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. 

‘Revisiting the Regulatory State: A Multidisciplinary Review Establishing a New Research Agenda’

On Friday 21st November with the dynamic duo of David Deller (CCP) and Francesca Vantaggiato (CCP and PPL) presenting their research entitled ‘Revisiting the Regulatory State: A Multidisciplinary Review Establishing a New Research Agenda‘. David and Francesca first began researching the topic last year when working as Research Associates at the CCP. David joined the Centre in September 2013 having attained a PhD in Economics from the University of Essex. Francesca is a Political Scientist who also joined the CCP in 2013 and has since started her PhD at the School of Politics, Philosophy Language and Communication Studies.  An abstract for their paper can be found below.

Abstract

The paper provides a comprehensive literature review of the ‘Regulatory State’ through the lens of utility regulation. The review is multidisciplinary with it bringing together the insights available from the political science, economics, legal and management science literatures. It is clear that while the term ‘Regulatory State’ is essentially missing from the economics literature a vast array of economics papers provide valuable insights for debates about the Regulatory State within political science.

In addition to reviewing the existing literature, the paper identifies opportunities for future research. The literature is grouped into five topics: (i) Consumers, (ii) Courts, (iii) Ideas, Experts and Expertise, (iv) Governance and (v) Assessing Regulator Performance. Apart from (iv), we believe all of these areas have been under-researched in relative terms. In particular, a key finding is that compared to the information available on Public Utility Commissioners in US States, very little information has been collated on the background, characteristics and careers of individual utility regulators working within Europe.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03.

‘Moral Hazard, Quantity Competition and Why Consumers Should Care About Firms’ Agency Problems’

This week’s CCP seminar takes place on Friday 1st November with David Deller (CCP), who has recently joined the Centre as a Research Associate, presenting his research on ‘Moral Hazard, Quantity Competition and Why Consumers Should Care About Firms’ Agency Problems‘. An abstract for his seminar can be found below.

Abstract

In textbook models of competition, firms are treated as ‘black-box’ profit functions. The paper opens up this ‘black-box’ to highlight the conditions when a standard moral hazard problem within firms can have a significant downward impact on the expected outcome of quantity competition. In a parameterised model, it is shown that, as a market grows “large”, the equilibrium expected output of firms suffering from moral hazard problems is significantly lower than the expected output when firms without moral hazard problems collude. Furthermore, it is shown that firms may not undertake a costly investment in monitoring despite it being welfare enhancing. The negative impact of moral hazard on market outcomes gives a justification for consumers, and not just shareholders, to care about how firms resolve their internal agency problems. Also, time permitting, a discussion of the potential for product market collusion to be achieved via collusion in the incentive contracts offered by firms to their workers will be given.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.4.