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The Impact of Structural and Contractual Arrangements on a Vertically Separated Railway

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Author Info

  • Luisa Affuso

    (London Business School)

  • David Newbery

    (University of Cambridge)

Abstract

The unbundling of railways in Britain has been heavily criticised as undermining the passenger rail system. Economic theory suggests that structural separation and short-lived contracts hinder incentives to invest in relation-specific assets. This paper consitutes an initial investigation of this proposition. It investigates whether the investment pattern of the rail passenger franchisees responds to structural and contractual characteristics using a unique panel of data on the privatised railways in Britain. Its findings suggest that unbundling and competition for franchises combined with commercial objectives can provide strong incentives towards better performance, as is the case for investment behaviour.

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File URL: http://www.esr.ie/vOL33_1Affuso.pdf
File Function: First version, 2002
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

Volume (Year): 33 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 83-92

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Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:33:y:2002:i:1:p:83-92

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  1. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1995. "A Unified Model of Investment Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 4296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1998. "An Exact Soultion for the Investment and Market Value of a Firm Facing Uncertainty, Adjustment Costs, and Irreversibility," NBER Working Papers 4412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
  4. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  5. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
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Cited by:
  1. De Fraja, Gianni & Michetti, Emanuela & Zanchettin, Piercarlo, 2008. "Toc 'n' Roll: Bargaining, Service Quality and Specificity in the UK Railway Network," CEPR Discussion Papers 7088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Yvrande-Billon, Anne & Menard, Claude, 2005. "Institutional constraints and organizational changes: the case of the British rail reform," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 675-699, April.
  3. Calzolari, Giacomo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2009. "Relational Contracts and Competitive Screening," CEPR Discussion Papers 7434, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Emanuela Michetti, 2009. "Price and Quality Regulation in a Physical Network Industry," Department of Economics University of Siena 578, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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