Regulators and policy-makers are dealing with the great problem of intervening on consolidated markets’ and sectors’ structures in order to boost efficiency and services’ quality. Really regulators and policy makers act on the basis of the picture of the world they share. Such a picture is populated by firms, markets, consumers, and other entities, each of them having some specific and peculiar characteristics. Results regulators and policy makers will achieve will be strongly dependent on the adequacy of their view of the world, more than on their implementation ability.\ud An analysis of the possible picture of the world is therefore useful in order to be aware of potential pros and cons. This paper has started from the consideration of the importance of intangible resources for the generation of value, for firms, markets and consumers. A direct implication is that neglecting the role of intangible resources in regulation and policy-making will not serve the cause of improving efficiency and effectiveness of firms operating in regulated sectors.\ud However, how intangible resources should be taken into account and managed is still an open question. Different approaches are consistent with different theories of the firm. This paper has explicitly recognised that a theory of the firm is a way to present a picture of the world which policy-making can be based upon.\ud The analysis has presented five theories of the firm (namely the Agency Theory, the Property Rights Theory, the Transaction Cost Economics, the Resource-Based View and the Dynamic-Capabilities View of the firm), and has shown that different theories of the firm open the door to different approaches for identifying, managing and accounting intangible resources. This means that the adoption of a particular theory of the firm strongly impacts on policy-making and regulation. A comparative analysis of the five theories is here presented, and some insights are presented for regulated industries
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