Caught between theory and practice: Government, market, and regulatory failure in electricity sector reforms


Electricity sector in many developing countries since the early 1990s have revealed the complexities of introducing market-based reforms in network and infrastructure industries. This paper reflects on the experience to date with the process and outcomes of electricity reforms in smaller electricity systems of less-developed and transition economies. In particular, we use case studies of Belarus and Nepal, two countries that in many respects reflect the current state of reform efforts but have not received much scrutiny in the literature. The evidence suggests similarities in the electricity sectors of less-developed and transition economies, even though the contexts vary significantly. The need to balance economic efficiency, sustainability and social equity, and to maintain adequate investment, remains challenging despite more than two decades of experience with reforms. The dynamics of the electricity supply industry and policy objectives imply that reforms evolve continuously and thus remain work in progress, and their success or failure is a complex function of micro- and macro-economic as well as institutional factors.

Economic Analysis and Policy