Electricity markets have undergone regulatory reforms since the early 1980s around the world. Technical analyses of these reforms usually pay lip service to the influence of politics over regulatory processes. Existing studies examine certain aspects of the market such as demand, pricing, and efficiency, and they touch upon political issues only passingly when economic models cannot provide sufficient explanation, This approach problematically takes politics as an ad hoc variable. This study shows that electricity is intrinsically a 'political good' and argues that any meaningful reform effort should take institutions as the starting point rather than a residual. The argument that politics has to be an endogenous variable in any model aspiring to explain behavior in electricity markets is demonstrated in the paper. The evidence for the political good character of electricity is found by examining the Turkish regulatory reform, for Which it is argued that there is not a satisfactory relationship between expected and realized gains. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.