Apr 1, 2006 - Mar 31, 2011
During the past few years, the electricity and gas utility industries, conventionally known as public utility industries, have become the target of deregulation. Although this trend is more distinguished in Western countries, Japan belatedly joined the movement and has embarked on the deregulation of the electricity and gas utility industries. In contrast to deregulation in the communication service field, full-scale policy studies and institutional designs have just begun for deregulation in the electricity and gas utility industries. It would be difficult to fully address the essential issues in institutional design solely by conventional theories of competition and regulatory policy because significant differences exist between the communication service and the electricity and gas industries in terms of the goods traded and the industries’ networks. Many problems must be solved concerning the deregulation of electricity and gas utility industries in Japan. The Project on Deregulation of Public Utility Industries aims to make a policy proposal that contributes to forging an efficient market that upholds the institutional design of deregulation of the electricity and gas utility industries. Taking into account the characteristics of the goods traded and the networks, the policy proposal will be based on theoretical and empirical study of the institutional design of the deregulation from an economic perspective. The scope of study may be expanded to regulatory reform of other network- based public utility industries, such as water service.