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Press Releases

New Publications of Note

The Technology Policy Institute has posted three new Publications of Note by outside authors on subjects of interest to our audience:

  • Tim Brennan, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ or ‘Back to the Future’? Electric Utility Decoupling, Reviving Rate-of-Return Regulation, and Energy Efficiency
  • Bronwyn Howell, The End or the Means? The Pursuit of Competition in Regulated Telecommunications Markets
  • Andrea Renda, I own the pipes, you call the tune: The net neutrality debate and its (ir)relevance for Europe
Research Papers

‘Night of the Living Dead’ or ‘Back to the Future’? Electric Utility Decoupling, Reviving Rate-of-Return Regulation, and Energy Efficiency

The distribution grid for delivering electricity to the user has been paid for as part of the charge per kilowatt-hour that covers the cost of the energy itself. Conservation advocates have promoted the adoption of policies that “decouple” electric distribution company revenues or profits from how much electricity goes through the lines. Their motivation is that usage-based pricing leads utilities to encourage use and discourages conservation. Because decoupling divorces profits from conduct, it runs against the dominant finding in regulatory economics in the last twenty years – that incentive-based regulation outperforms rate-of-return. Even if distribution costs are independent of use, some usage charges can be efficient. Price-cap regulation may distort utility incentives to inform consumers about energy efficiency – getting more performance from less electricity. Utilities will subsidize efficiency investments, but only when prices are too low. Justifying policies to subsidize energy efficiency requires either prices that are too low or consumers who are ignorant.

Press Releases

TPI Study to Examine Fiscal Benefits of Highly Skilled Immigrants

The Technology Policy Institute announced today a new research project that will delineate the budget and economic benefits provided by highly skilled immigrants working in the United States. TPI’s research will be underwritten by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest private-sector funding source for economic research in the United States.

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