Espontaneidad y orden en economía: el caso del sistema eléctrico

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Universidad Complutense de Madrid
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The main purpose of this investigation is to analyze the coordination challenges that prevent the formation of a spontaneous order in the electrical power system. This paper is intended primarily to show how these problems, that allegedly justify the regulation of utilities, have been overcome throughout history without government intervention. The history of the electricity sector in Spain is a unique example for the fact that it was the only country in the world where utilities remained under private ownership, and without any regulation, for over 70 years. Under these circumstances, the unification of the national electricity network was accomplished through a self-organizing system based on voluntary co-operation agreements. This historical singularity is a reference that can help us understand many of the problems facing the energy sector today. This paper is structured around three main issues: power exchanges, business models and organizational arrangements. Having found the theoretical framework of neoclassical economics ill-equipped to explain many of the problems arising from the complexity of the electricity system, I have proceeded to incorporate a contractarian paradigm. This approach – based primarily on the contributions of such authors as Joseph Schumpeter, Ronald Coase and James Buchanan – is introduced in order to shed some light on these problems. In concluding that the coordination problems that arise in the electricity sector can be solved through voluntary agreements, my findings have profound normative implications that can steer future economic policy. The current institutional framework, based on a static and centralized regulatory model, has exacerbated the problems resulting from the technological and economic changes that the industry is confronting. The adaptation of the electrical system to this dynamic environment requires a polycentric structure that fosters the decentralization of decision-making and encourages the formation of a spontaneous order.
Tesis inédita de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, leída el 08-05-2014
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