DEFINITION of 'Rate Of Return Regulation'

A form of price setting regulation where governments determine the fair price which is allowed to be charged by a monopoly. Rate of return regulation is meant to protect customers from being charged higher prices due to the monopoly's power, while still allowing the monopoly to cover its costs and earn a fair return for its owners

BREAKING DOWN 'Rate Of Return Regulation'

Customers benefit from prices that are reasonable, given the monopolists operating costs. Rate of return regulation is often criticized because it provides little incentive to reduce costs and increase efficiency. A monopolist who is regulated in this manner does not earn more if costs are reduced. Thus, customers may still be charged higher prices than they would be under free competition.

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