While the economic approach to the politics of regulation emphasizes the importance of organized economic interests in shaping policies, political institutions in which regulatory agencies are embedded may also have significant effects. By including both economic influences and characteristics of political institutions in a model of price setting by state regulators, this paper demonstrates that both shape regulatory behavior in the telecommunications industry. Whether commissioners are elected or appointed, whether they face confirmation by a legislature, and whether a single party controls both executive and legislative branches of state governments influence the level of prices charged for basic services.