Our introduction to this compendium reviews Alfred Kahn’s academic and policy interests, his activities as a regulator and advisor to governments and companies, and the interactions between these aspects of his life as an economist. Although best known for his research on the economics of regulation and his application of microeconomic principles in his role as a regulator and advisor, Kahn’s academic research portfolio was much more diverse. He wrote about patent policy, economic development, antitrust policy, and other topics, in addition to his work on regulation and deregulation. Even before becoming a regulator he was actively involved in applying economic principles to regulatory problems as an advisor and consultant. In all of his work Kahn recognized that markets were imperfect, but that policies aimed at improving market performance often made things worse. His experience as a regulator and consultant strengthened his recognition that the costs of imperfect regulation had to be carefully balanced against the costs of imperfect markets. One had to search for the best that could be done in an imperfect world. Kahn was particularly fascinated by the challenges of designing and implementing policies to govern the transition from regulated monopoly or oligopoly to an industry that would ultimately rely primarily on competitive markets to govern firm behavior and performance. Fred Kahn was an extraordinary man who is missed greatly by his many friends and colleagues representing a wide range of political orientations and approaches to economic and public policy analysis.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 14, 2012
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