Stephen G. Donald and David E. M. Sappington

Explaining the Choice Among Regulatory Plans in the U.S. Telecommunications Industry

We investigate why different states in the United States choose different regulatory plans in their telecommunications industry. We present a simple theoretical model and an empirical analysis of the issue. We find that a state is more likely to replace rate-of-return regulation with incentive regulation when: (1) residential basic local service rates have historically been relatively high; (2) allowed earnings under rate-of-return regulation in the state have been either particularly high or particularly low; (3) the state’s leaders tend to come from both major political parties, rather than from a single party; (4) the state’s urban population is growing relatively rapidly; and (5) the bypass activity of competitors in the state is less pronounced.