Stephen Breyer & Paul W. MacAvoy, The Natural Gas Shortage and the Regulation of Natural Gas Producers, 86 Harv. L. Rev. 941 (1973).
Abstract: In an attack upon the current natural gas shortage, President Nixon has recently urged an end to much of the Federal Power Commission's regulation of the price of natural gas at t he wellhead. From the perspectives of both the lawyer and the economist, Professors Breyer and MacAvoy lend support to a policy change in this direction. They show that regulation of gas wellhead prices raises problems substantially different from the regulation of traditional public utilities. They argue that the policies the Commission has pursued were almost inevitably bound to result in wellhead prices below the market level that would call forth supplies sufficient to meet demand, and, through econometric analysis, they demonstrate the extent to which the Commission's pricing practices produced the shortage. While the Commission's policies were aimed at helping home consumers, data gathered by the authors indicate that regulation has brough about precisely the opposite result. The Commission's experience may well cast light on the wisdom of adopting regulatory techniques to redistribute income when serious economic efficiency losses are likely to arise.