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Network Industries and Social WelfareThe Experiment that Reshuffled European Utilities$
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Massimo Florio

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199674855.001.0001

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Introduction: The policy paradigm

Introduction: The policy paradigm

(p.2) (p.3) 1 Introduction: The policy paradigm
Network Industries and Social Welfare

Massimo Florio

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a definition of network industries, and introduces the core ingredients of the reform paradigm in the European arena, the research questions, and the structure of the book. Network industries include capital-intensive infrastructure leading to natural monopoly. In many cases they offer essential services. The efficiency argument for privatization is reviewed, then the ownership separation of the non-competitive segment, and eventually market opening. Focusing on the effects on consumers, the following questions are asked: Does ownership matter for prices and social welfare? Is unbundling necessary to achieve competition? Does regulated competition deliver lower prices? The book is in three parts: Part One. Paradigm, facts, prediction; Part Two: Testing the Paradigm; Part Three: Perceptions, Quality, Affordability. A concluding chapter discusses the policy implications.

Keywords:   paradigm, reforms, natural monopoly, competition, consumers, prices

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