The Political Economy of Energy and Its Implications for Climate Change Legislation

Public choice themes have arisen throughout the history of U.S. energy regulation and continue to be relevant today, particularly with widespread discussion of deregulation and increased attention to climate change. This Article surveys how public choice themes are relevant to understanding a host of issues of importance to the electric power industry today, including the structure of the industry, the significance of wholesale markets, and the division of regulatory power between state and federal authorities. The Article highlights how an understanding of how public choice has contributed to these features of the electric power industry will prove important to the successes and failures of national climate change policy.