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Public Enterprise And Regulation

· The word limit for each question is 1,000 words. Equations are not included in the word count for this assessment.

· All questions are worth equal marks.

· You should allow a minimum of 30 minutes to upload/submit your work.




Answer two questions only.

The word limit for each question is 1,000 words.

Exam 1

1. Outline the different public and private theories of regulation and their theoretical predictions. Using relevant examples, explain which of the theories you think best fits with reality.

2. The theory of contestable markets seems to offer substantial benefits in terms of preventing abuse of monopoly power without the need for regulation or actual competition. Can these benefits be realised in practice? Your answer should draw on both theory and empirical examples.


3. Explain the role of competition for the market in bringing about desirable outcomes in markets where competition in the market is not desirable or possible. Can it work, and in what circumstances? Your answer should draw on both theory and empirical examples.


4. Can privatisation, combined with market opening and / or strong economic regulation, solve the problems associated with state ownership? Do you agree that state ownership is a problem in need of a solution or that more state ownership is now needed to solve the problems of private ownership? Your answer should draw on both theory and empirical examples.

5. How can economic regulation be used to ensure a “fair” balance between incentivising firms to improve efficiency and make a reasonable return, whilst also delivering a good deal for tax payers and consumers? Are some regulatory mechanisms more suited than others to achieving these objectives? Your answer should draw on both theory and empirical examples.

Exam 2

6. Explain the motivation for adopting “high powered” regulatory incentive mechanisms such as RPI-X as compared to more traditional rate-of-return regulation approaches to economic regulation of private monopolists. Was RPI-X the right choice for the UK and does it remain fit for purpose? You should draw on both theory and empirical examples.


7. “What is owned by everyone is perceived to be owned by no-one”

(Parker and Saal, 2003).


Do you agree that state ownership is a fundamentally flawed ownership model for which privatisation, combined with associated regulatory and market opening reforms is the best solution? Justify your answer by reference to both theory and relevant empirical cases.



8. Based on evaluation of the theory and evidence from the US and the UK, do you believe that economic regulators exist to service the interests of the public, private interest groups or even themselves?



9. Explain the theoretical benefits of ‘ex ante competition’ (also referred to as ‘competition for the market’) as compared to the alternatives of economic regulation or ‘competition in the market’. What are the potential pitfalls of ex ante competition, and what are the factors that are critical to its success? Your answer should refer to empirical examples.

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