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Privatisation, regulation and productivity in the Italian motorway industry

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Author Info

  • Luigi Benfratello

    ()
    (University of Torino and Ceris-CNR)

  • Alberto Iozzi

    ()
    (University of Rome "Tor Vergata" and University of Leicester)

  • Paola Valbonesi

    ()
    (University of Padua)

Abstract

The Italian highway industry has undergone an institutional and regulatory reform through the last decade, characterised by changes in ownership and a new price cap framework. To assess the effect of the reforms on firms’ performance, we use information on all the 20 Italian concessionaires over the 1992-2003 period and 1) estimate the technical progress in the industry, thereby providing a reference value for the X factor in the price cap formula; 2) assess the relative productivity of private vs. public concessionaires; 3) evaluate whether price cap regulation has induced firms to use resources efficiently, 4) determine the possible effect of the inclusion of the quality index in the price cap formula. We find that the introduction of a price cap regime does not increase firms’ productivity whereas a sharp increase in maintenance costs is recorded, arguably due to the quality indicator in the price cap formula. Furthermore, firms appear to have gained from the privatisation process and from a technical progress occurred in the period. We also find high density economies and a steady and large increase in traffic. Overall, these results suggest that the X factor has been set too conservatively in past years which in turn explains the high profits recorded by franchisees under price cap regulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno" in its series "Marco Fanno" Working Papers with number 0002.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pad:wpaper:0002

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Keywords: Price Cap Regulation; Motorways;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Massiani, Jerome & Ragazzi, Giorgio, 2008. "Costs and efficiency of highway concessionaires: a survey of Italian operators," European Transport \ Trasporti Europei, ISTIEE, Institute for the Study of Transport within the European Economic Integration, ISTIEE, Institute for the Study of Transport within the European Economic Integration, issue 38, pages 85-106.
  2. Laurino, Antonio & Grimaldi, Raffaele, 2010. "The process of highway privatization in Italy and Japan," MPRA Paper 29146, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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