Laboratory experiments on the regulation of European network industries

Date: 2016
By: Henze, B. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
The main objective of this thesis is to use economic laboratory experiments in order to evaluate the performance of regulatory schemes and market designs in addressing challenges encountered in the regulation of European network industries. Chapter 2 assesses whether regulatory holidays and Long Term Financial Transportation Rights (LTFTR) can provide a network operator with incentives for optimal network expansion. However, in the studied environment which captures essential features of gas transportation networks, neither of the two schemes generates improvements over a baseline of price cap regulation. Chapter 3 investigates whether auctions can be used to successfully implement two-part tariff Incremental Surplus Subsidy (ISS) schemes under aggregate demand uncertainty. Depending on the method used for determining the network users’ individual contributions to the subsidy, multi-unit Vickrey auctions yield promising results. Chapter 4 finally studies the effects of providing varying degrees of transparency in a duopolistic market for experience goods. Under full transparency, the two sellers are found not to maximally differentiate the quality of their products as theory would predict but to rather engage in fierce price competition at high quality levels. Moreover, even intermediate levels of transparency result in significantly higher consumer surplus and total welfare when compared to a situation without any transparency