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Road taxes, road user charges and earmarking

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  • David M. Newbery
  • Georgina Santos

Abstract

The UK Road Fund was set up in 1921 and financed by earmarked taxes, but was unsuccessful as a form of road finance and abandoned in 1937. The paper examines why earmarking failed and what problems arise for replacing road taxes by hypothecated road charges. These charges would need to be regulated and could evolve into a more efficient system of road pricing. The paper claims that recent experiences with regulating capital-intensive network industries make road user charging and the commercialisation of the public highway both feasible and desirable, but that recent government proposals for local earmarked taxes are inadequate.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 20 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 103-132

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:20:y:1999:i:2:p:103-132

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  1. McCleary, William, 1991. "The Earmarking of Government Revenue: A Review of Some World Bank Experience," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 6(1), pages 81-104, January.
  2. Newbery, David M, 1987. "Road User Charges in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(390), pages 161-76, Supplemen.
  3. Newbery, D.M. & Pollitt, M.G., 1996. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the CEGB: Was It Worth It?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 9607, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Forsyth, 2000. "Microeconomic Policies and Structural Change," RBA Annual Conference Volume, Reserve Bank of Australia, in: David Gruen & Sona Shrestha (ed.), The Australian Economy in the 1990s Reserve Bank of Australia.
  2. Richard M Bird & Joosung Jun, 2005. "Earmarking in Theory and Korean Practice," International Tax Program Papers 0513, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  3. Amihai Glazer & Stef Proost, 2007. "Earmarking: Bundling to Signal Quality," Working Papers 060713, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  4. Georgina Santos & Laurent Rojey, 2004. "Distributional impacts of road pricing: The truth behind the myth," Transportation, Springer, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 21-42, February.
  5. Santos, Georgina & Behrendt, Hannah & Maconi, Laura & Shirvani, Tara & Teytelboym, Alexander, 2010. "Part I: Externalities and economic policies in road transport," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 2-45.
  6. Clifford Winston, 2000. "Government Failure in Urban Transportation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 403-425, December.
  7. Santos, G. & Rojey, L. & Newbery, D.M., 2000. "The Environmental Benefits from Road Pricing," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 0020, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Jonathan Leape, 2006. "The London Congestion Charge," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 157-176, Fall.

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