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Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820–1990$
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James Foreman-Peck and Robert Millward

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203599.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2019

. Prices, Profits, and Government: Gas and Telegraph in the Late Nineteenth Century

. Prices, Profits, and Government: Gas and Telegraph in the Late Nineteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.122) 4. Prices, Profits, and Government: Gas and Telegraph in the Late Nineteenth Century
Source:
Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820–1990
Author(s):

James Foreman-Peck

Robert Millward

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203599.003.0004

The political importance of the 20th-century consumer and taxpayer is such that firms, whatever their ownership forms, tread a narrow line between high prices, high profits, and ‘exploitation’ on the one hand and low prices, deficits, and ‘inefficiency’ on the other. This chapter examines the experience of certain network industries to throw light on how their profit levels and pricing policies have been affected by links with government. Two sectors are examined in detail. The first is the local utilities sector in late 19th-century Britain, which embraced electricity, tramways, water supply, and gas supply. The second is the electric telegraph in the same period, comparing the experience of European and United States governments in their interventions.

Keywords:   Britain, consumer, taxpayer, network industries, profits, pricing policies, government, local utilities sector, electric telegraph, interventions

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