Market valuation of regulatory assets in public utility firms
Additional Document Info
Economic and political events have led to utility regulation decisions which, in turn, provide an impetus for significant changes in industry accounting and reporting practices. The prospect of continuing change in the operating environment for utilities suggests that some deferred assets created by regulatory actions are subject to uncertain recovery. Accounting regulators have responded by imposing additional constraints on the firm's ability to record these so-called "regulatory assets." Our results indicate that investors' valuation of regulatory assets depends on the regulatory environment in which the utility is operating. That is, there are cross-sectional valuation differences arising from the market's assessment of the probability that regulators will ultimately allow for the full recovery of the deferred costs.