Chapter 3: Moving to a Competitive Market in Water – Colin Robinson, Chairman’s Comments – Sir Ian Byatt
In the spring of 1996, when Michael Beesley and I were arranging the Sixth Series of Lectures in Regulation, Michael persuaded me to give a lecture about water, an industry in which he had a considerable interest from his involvement in its privatization and subsequent regulation. I had said to him that regulation of the industry seemed to be diverging from the procompetitive paths being followed in the other utilities. Moreover, I suggested, most regulatory economists seemed to assume that the industry would be forever regulated following old-fashioned ‘public economics’ principles, as though its natural form was a group of regional monopolies which had to be tightly regulated (the idea implicit in the privatization scheme). Typically, Michael’s response was that, if that was my feeling, I must give the lecture. There seemed no adequate answer, so, like many other people who have lectured in this Series, I ventured into unfamiliar territory on Michael’s prompting.
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