Institutional Change in the Electricity Industry: A Comparison of Four Latin American Cases
52 Pages Posted: 22 May 2001
Date Written: April 25, 2001
By means of a comparison of the process of restructuring of the electricity industry in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile, I examine the validity of three hypotheses about the determinants of institutional change in this industry. The case studies show that ideology plays a major role in shaping the outcomes of the institutional change process; distributional conflict, or the conflict over the economic rents that can be extracted from the electricity industry, also has a significant influence on institutional change, although somewhat weaker than ideology; finally, the degree of judicial independence in a country can affect institutional transformation with regard to property rights, but not with regard to the degree of reliance on competitive mechanisms of resource allocation.
Keywords: Institutions, public enterprise, ideology, judicial independence, rent seeking, regulation, electricity
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