Caught Between Theory and Practice: Government, Market, and Regulatory Failure in Electricity Sector Reforms
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The world-wide electricity sector reforms of the early 1990s have revealed the considerable complexities of making market driven reforms in network and infrastructure industries. This paper reflects on the experiences to date with the process and outcomes of marketbased electricity reforms across less-developed, transition and developed economies. The reforms outcomes suggest similar problems facing the electricity sector of these countries though their contexts vary significantly. Many developing and developed economies continue to have investment inadequacy concerns and the need to balance economy efficiency, sustainability and social equity after more than two decades of experience with reforms. We also use a case study of selected countries that in many respects represent the current state of the reform though they are rarely examined. Nepal, Belarus and Ireland are chosen as country-specific case studies for this purpose. We conclude that the changing dynamics of the electricity supply industry (ESI) and policy objectives imply that analysing the success and failure of reforms will indeed remain a complex process.