Although a bit dated in some of its institutional details, I share here a paper that Bob Ekelund and I published in the Spring/Summer 1994 issue of the Cato Journal; the paper is entitled “Cable Reregulation .” I post it here as part of my effort to eventually make available at Cafe Hayek links to as many as possible of the papers I’ve written. (My goal here is driven less by vanity than by the quest to have as much as possible of my written stuff consolidated in one place for easier access, largely for me.)
One of the (I boast) important points that Bob and I make in this paper is what I’ll call here the “multi-dimensionality” of consumer welfare. Of course lower prices are better for consumers than are higher prices all else unchanged. Yet this italicized qualification is very important in reality, for “all else” in goods and services typically is vast and quite often isn’t unchanged. The dimensions of a good’s or a service’s quality (that is, its non-price features) are usually large and often unobservable in full to outside observers. Only the competitive pressures of open markets can discover these many dimensions and take appropriate accounts of each.