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Political and public acceptability of congestion pricing: Ideology and self-interest

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  • Björn Hårsman

    (Dean Emeritus and Professor of Economics, Royal Institute of Technology)

  • John M. Quigley

    (I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor and Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Studies of the “stated preferences” of households generally report public and political opposition by urban commuters to congestion pricing. It is thought that this opposition inhibits or precludes tolls and pricing systems that would enhance efficiency in the use of scarce roadways. This paper analyzes the only case in which road pricing was decided by a citizen referendum on the basis of experience with a specific pricing system. The city of Stockholm introduced a toll system for seven months in 2006, after which citizens voted on its permanent adoption. We match precinct voting records to resident commute times and costs by traffic zone, and we analyze patterns of voting in response to economic and political incentives. We document political and ideological incentives for citizen choice, but we also find that the pattern of time savings and incremental costs exerts a powerful influence on voting behavior. In this instance, at least, citizen voters behave as if they value commute time highly. When they have experienced first-hand the out-of-pocket costs and time savings of a specific pricing scheme, they are prepared to adopt freely policies that reduce congestion on urban motorways. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 854-874

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:4:p:854-874

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Harrington, Winston & Krupnick, Alan J. & Alberini, Anna, 2001. "Overcoming public aversion to congestion pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 87-105, February.
  2. Jonathan Leape, 2006. "The London Congestion Charge," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 157-176, Fall.
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  5. Eliasson, Jonas, 2009. "A cost-benefit analysis of the Stockholm congestion charging system," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 468-480, May.
  6. Jens Schade & Bernhard Schlag, 2000. "Acceptability of Urban Transport Pricing," Research Reports 72, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  7. Prud'homme, Rémy & Bocarejo, Juan Pablo, 2005. "The London congestion charge: a tentative economic appraisal," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 279-287, May.
  8. Eliasson, Jonas, 2008. "Lessons from the Stockholm congestion charging trial," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 395-404, November.
  9. DeSerpa, A C, 1971. "A Theory of the Economics of Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(324), pages 828-46, December.
  10. Winslott-Hiselius, Lena & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Vagland, Asa & Byström, Camilla, 2009. "The development of public attitudes towards the Stockholm congestion trial," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 269-282, March.
  11. Allan C. DeSerpa, 1975. "On the Comparative Statics of Time Allocation Theory," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 8(1), pages 101-11, February.
  12. Eliasson, Jonas & Hultkrantz, Lars & Nerhagen, Lena & Rosqvist, Lena Smidfelt, 2009. "The Stockholm congestion - charging trial 2006: Overview of effects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 240-250, March.
  13. Leon N. Moses & Harold F. Williamson & Jr., 1963. "Value of Time, Choice of Mode, and the Subsidy Issue in Urban Transportation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 247.
  14. Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Damien Broussolle, 2011. "Le Peage Urbain : Une Source De Financement Acceptable ? Avec Une Application Au Cas De L’Agglomeration Strasbourgeoise," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2011-07, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
  2. Yusuf, Juita-Elena (Wie) & O’Connell, Lenahan & Anuar, Khairul A., 2014. "For whom the tunnel be tolled: A four-factor model for explaining willingness-to-pay tolls," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 13-21.
  3. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas & Hugosson, Muriel & Brundell-Freij, Karin, 2012. "The Stockholm congestion charges – five years on. Effects, acceptability and lessons learnt," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:3, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  4. Matthew J. Holian & Matthew E. Kahn, 2014. "Household Demand for Low Carbon Public Policies: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 19965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Westin , Jonas & Basck, Pierre & Franklin, Joel P. & Proost , Stef & Raux , Charles, 2012. "Achieving political acceptability for new transport infrastructure in congested urban regions," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:19, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  6. Eliasson, Jonas & Jonsson, Lina, 2011. "The unexpected "yes": Explanatory factors behind the positive attitudes to congestion charges in Stockholm," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 636-647, August.
  7. Mullen, Caroline & Tight, Miles & Whiteing, Anthony & Jopson, Ann, 2014. "Knowing their place on the roads: What would equality mean for walking and cycling?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 238-248.
  8. Hensher, David A. & Li, Zheng, 2013. "Referendum voting in road pricing reform: A review of the evidence," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 186-197.
  9. Andreas Koulouris & Ioannis Katerelos & Theodore Tsekeris, 2013. "Multi-Equilibria Regulation Agent-Based Model of Opinion Dynamics in Social Networks," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 11(1), pages 51-70.
  10. Eliasson , Jonas, 2014. "The Stockholm congestion pricing syndrome: how congestion charges went from unthinkable to uncontroversial," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:1, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  11. Michael Manville & David King, 2013. "Credible commitment and congestion pricing," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 229-249, February.

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