This edition of the Distinguished Lecture Series on Institutions, Regulation and Development is a noteworthy addition to the stock of knowledge compiled by ECES. Among the reasons why this lecture is important, three stand out in particular. First, the topic is timely, given that Egypt is on the verge of privatizing its telecom and segments of the power sectors. As these activities involve natural monopoly elements, discussion of the regulation of these activities to ensure the efficient operation of firms and the protection of consumers is highly relevant.
The lecture is also important for intellectual reasons. It builds on a fast growing area of economics, in particular the principal-agent literature and the economics of information, contract theory and new institutional economics. These theoretical foundations provide solid basis for thinking about various economic problems, including private provision of public services, share cropping, corporate governance and credit allocation. Last but not least, the lecture is important because its author, Prof. Laffont, is one of the architects of modern industrial organization. His contributions to the development of theory are matched by only a few.
Author(s): Jean-Jacques Laffont