Edited by Colin Robinson
Colin Robinson The ﬁfteenth series of the annual Beesley Lectures, organised by Leonard Waverman of the London Business School and Colin Robinson on behalf of the Institute of Economic Aﬀairs, took place in the autumn of 2005. The chapters in this book are revised versions of the papers given in the series and the comments made by the chairmen. Books based on the series, of which this is the latest, provide a unique insight into the development of utility regulation since its early days. When the late Professor Michael Beesley founded the series in 1991, the British utilities had only recently been privatised, privatisation was beginning to spread around the world and utility regulators were trying to discover how best to supervise the industries for which they were responsible. Michael saw the series as a forum for discussing the many issues that arise from privatisation and regulation. In particular, he was aware of the dangers of over-regulation and ineﬃciency in the regulated industries. He was keen to see utility markets liberalised, with ‘light touch’ regulation conﬁned to cases where there was no alternative. Fifteen years on, we can see that the results of privatisation and regulation have been mixed. In Britain, some utility markets have been liberalised but others are still virtually untouched by competitive forces, being governed instead by comprehensive regulation; a degree of politicisation has returned as, for example, social and environmental obligations have been imposed by government and industry ‘policies’ have reappeared; regulatory o...