administrative expropriation


Much of our work on infrastructure policy and regulation deals with safeguards for investment. Uncertainty around investments is reduced when international arbitration is permitted. With many governments from the developed-market economies, the US government has been a strong supporter of international arbitration. But when it looks like these safeguards apply to their own country, they are unhappy. “This is really troubling,” said Senator Charles E.
One of the key concepts we use when teaching about regulation is administrative expropriation. It is a form of expropriation that is distinguished from the more obvious expropriations by governments (nationalization) or warlords. It nibbles away at the ability to make the expected return on investment and beyond a certain point starts to eat into the invested capital itself. In my teaching I define it as follows: Administrative expropriation = being prevented from making a reasonable return on investment per expectation at point of investing, usually through a series of actions (not decisive when each taken alone), resulting in de facto expropriation of the investment Not necessarily telecom specific; can be through tax laws, customs authorities, etc. Any government can engage in admin expropriation, directly or through proxies The Sunday Leader lead story of 10 January 2010 provides an excellent example of administrative expropriation by a regulator, violating the provisions of the enabling law at the behest of a political authority or in an attempt to curry favor with a political authority.