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Chinese Railway Reform and Competition: Vertical or Horizontal Restructuring?

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  • Russell Pittman

    (Antitrust Division US Department of Justice)

Abstract

One of the key determinants of China's ability to continue its economic growth into the 21stcentury and to distribute the benefits of that growth to a broad spectrum of the population will be the further development of its railroad system. This paper examines the possibilities for improving the performance and increasing the capacity of China's railroad system through the introduction of competition. Countries throughout the world are in the process of abandoning the centralized, monopoly, state-owned model of the railway in favor of models that create competition. However, different competitive models have been proposed and are being tried out. This paper discusses the reform experience with the two basic models and their variations, focusing especially on some of the operational and regulatory challenges that vertical separation is now better understood to impose. It seeks to apply the lessons of the experience to date to the situation of China, where -- unlike in many countries, developing and developed -- one important criteria for choosing a reform model is its ability to provide the incentives for appropriate levels of new investment to be undertaken at the appropriate locations. The paper closes with the presentation of one possible reform model for the Chinese rail system, a model that maintains vertical integration while creating competition for shippers at many important origin and destination points.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0204004.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 24 Apr 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0204004

Note: Type of Document - ; prepared on PC; pages: 26 ; figures: 4 maps included at end of paper
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Keywords: China railroad infrastructure reform competition;

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  1. Yuanzheng Cao & Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997. "From Federalism, Chinese Style, to Privatization, Chinese Style," Working Papers 97049, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Sylvie Demurger & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo & Shuming Bao, Gene Chang & Andrew Mellinger, 2002. "Geography, Economic Policy, and Regional Development in China," NBER Working Papers 8897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Freebairn, John, 1998. "Access Prices for Rail Infrastructure," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(226), pages 286-96, September.
  4. Pollitt, M. & Smith, A.S.J., 2001. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of British Rail: Was it really that bad?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0118, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Jian >Hong Wu & Chris Nash, 2000. "Railway reform in China," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 25-48, January.
  6. Russell Pittman, 2001. "Vertical Restructuring of the Infrastructure Sectors of Transition Economies," Industrial Organization 0111002, EconWPA.
  7. Ivaldi, Marc & Mccullough, Gerard, 1999. "Density and Integration Effects on Class I U.S. Freight Railroads," IDEI Working Papers 93, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  8. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Access pricing and competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1673-1710, December.
  9. Demurger, Sylvie, 2001. "Infrastructure Development and Economic Growth: An Explanation for Regional Disparities in China?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 95-117, March.
  10. Pittman, Russell W, 1990. "Railroads and Competition: The Santa Fe/Southern Pacific Merger Proposal," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 25-46, September.
  11. Albert Park & Hehui Jin & Scott Rozelle & Jikun Huang, 2002. "Market Emergence and Transition: Arbitrage, Transaction Costs, and Autarky in China's Grain Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(1), pages 67-82.
  12. James M. MacDonald & Linda Cavalluzzo, 1996. "Railroad deregulation: Pricing reforms, shipper responses, and the effects on labor," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 80-91, October.
  13. Hare, Denise & West, Loraine A., 1999. "Spatial Patterns in China's Rural Industrial Growth and Prospects for the Alleviation of Regional Income Inequality," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 475-497, September.
  14. Winston, Clifford, 1993. "Economic Deregulation: Days of Reckoning for Microeconomists," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1263-89, September.
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