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A quantitative cross-modal analysis of transportation firms’ transaction costs – Are airlines any different?


  • Merkert, Rico
  • Cowie, Jonathan


This paper applies a top-down approach to transaction cost measurement to identify the size of the transaction sector within types of transport firms in Britain, including rail and bus operating firms but also and importantly of airlines. Whilst this cross-sector analysis shows differences for a snapshot in time, it also reveals changes of transaction costs over time. Our results suggest that airlines employ a relatively large number of transaction staff. However, in contrast to the train and bus operators, airlines in Britain have managed to reduce the level of their transaction costs substantially over time both in relation to output and operating cost.

Suggested Citation

  • Merkert, Rico & Cowie, Jonathan, 2012. "A quantitative cross-modal analysis of transportation firms’ transaction costs – Are airlines any different?," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 3-8.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:22:y:2012:i:c:p:3-8
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2012.01.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fuhr Johannes & Beckers Thorsten, 2006. "Vertical Governance between Airlines and Airports - A Transaction Cost Analysis," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(4), pages 1-27, December.
    2. Johannes Fuhr, 2009. "Liberalisation of the European Ramp-handling Market: A Transaction Cost Assessment," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 43(1), pages 105-122, January.
    3. Wallis, John Joseph & North, Douglass C., 1988. "Should Transaction Costs be Subtracted from Gross National Product?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 651-654, September.
    4. Michael Dietrich, 2003. "The importance of management and transaction costs for large UK firms," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(11), pages 1317-1329.
    5. Williamson, Oliver E., 2005. "Transaction cost economics and business administration," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-40, March.
    6. Merkert, Rico, 2010. "Changes in transaction costs over time - The case of franchised train operating firms in Britain," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 52-59.
    7. Jonathan Cowie, 2002. "Acquisition, efficiency and scale economies: An analysis of the British bus industry," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 147-157, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Merkert, Rico & Williams, George, 2013. "Determinants of European PSO airline efficiency – Evidence from a semi-parametric approach," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 11-16.
    2. Jonathan Cowie & Sarah Loynes, 2012. "An assessment of cost management regimes in British rail infrastructure provision," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(6), pages 1281-1299, November.
    3. repec:eee:transa:v:117:y:2018:i:c:p:87-102 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Transaction costs; Airlines; Railways; Bus operators;


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