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A political economy model of road pricing

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  • Bruno DE BORGER
  • Stef PROOST

Abstract

In this paper, we take a political economy approach to study the introduction of urban congestion tolls, using a simple majority voting model. Making users pay for external congestion costs is for an economist an obvious reform, but successful introductions of externality pricing in transport are rare. The two exceptions are London and Stockholm that are characterized by two salient facts. First, the toll revenues were tied to improvements of public transport. Second, although a majority was against road pricing before it was actually introduced, a majority was in favor of the policy reform after its introduction. This paper constructs a model to explain these two aspects. Using a stylized model with car and public transport, we show that it is easier to obtain a majority when the toll revenues are used to subsidize public transport than when they are used for a tax refund. Furthermore, introducing idiosyncratic uncertainty for car substitution costs, we can explain the presence of a majority that is ex ante against road pricing and ex post in favor. The ex ante majority against road pricing also implies that there is no majority for organizing an experiment that would take away the individual uncertainty.

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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces10.20.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces10.20

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References

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  1. Stephen Coate & Stephen Morris, . ""Policy Persistence ''," CARESS Working Papres 95-19, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Small, Kenneth A. & Winston, Clifford & Yan, Jia, 2005. "Uncovering the Distribution of Motorists' Preferences for Travel Time and Reliability," Working paper 179, Regulation2point0.
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  4. Fay DUNKERLEY & Amihai GLAZER & Stef PROOST, 2010. "What drives gasoline taxes?," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces10.01, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  5. Schade, J. & Baum, M., 2007. "Reactance or acceptance? Reactions towards the introduction of road pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 41-48, January.
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  8. King, David & Manville, Michael & Shoup, Donald, 2007. "The political calculus of congestion pricing," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt9js9z8gz, University of California Transportation Center.
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  19. Odeck, James & Bråthen, Svein, 2002. "Toll financing in Norway: The success, the failures and perspectives for the future," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 253-260, July.
  20. 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.
  21. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1993. "A Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: A Traffic Bottleneck with Elastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 161-79, March.
  22. Winston, Clifford & Maheshri, Vikram, 2007. "On the social desirability of urban rail transit systems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 362-382, September.
  23. 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.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Why road pricing is so difficult to impose
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-08-24 14:14:00
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Cited by:
  1. Mogens Fosgerau & André De Palma, 2012. "The dynamics of urban traffic congestion and the price of parking," Working Papers hal-00742104, HAL.
  2. Russo, Antonio, 2012. "Voting on Road Congestion Policy," TSE Working Papers 12-310, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Nov 2012.
  3. DE BORGER, Bruno & PROOST, Stef, 2013. "The political economy of pricing and capacity decisions for congestible local public goods in a federal state," Working Papers 2013020, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Fosgerau, Mogens & de Palma, André, 2013. "The dynamics of urban traffic congestion and the price of parking�," MPRA Paper 48433, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. DE BORGER, Bruno & PROOST, Stef, 2012. "Transport policy competition between governments: A selective survey of the literature," Working Papers 2012014, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  7. David Hensher & Corinne Mulley, 2014. "Complementing distance based charges with discounted registration fees in the reform of road user charges: the impact for motorists and government revenue," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 697-715, July.

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