Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Regulatory risk, vertical integration, and upstream investment

Fiocco, Raffaele and Guo, Dongyu (2020): Regulatory risk, vertical integration, and upstream investment.

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Abstract

We investigate the impact of regulatory risk on vertical integration and upstream investment by a regulated firm that provides an essential input to downstream competitors. Regulatory risk reflects uncertainty about the regulator's commitment to a regulatory policy that promotes the regulated firm's unobservable investment effort. We show that, when the regulator sets the regulatory policy after the vertical industry structure has been established, some degree of regulatory risk is ex ante socially beneficial. Regulatory risk makes vertical integration profitable and stimulates upstream investment at a lower social cost. This occurs for moderate costs of investment effort and firm small risk aversion. Our analysis sheds new light on some relevant empirical patterns in vertically related markets.

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