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Second-best road pricing through highway franchising

  • Verhoef, Erik T.

This paper considers the welfare impacts of a range of franchising regimes for congestible highways. For a single road in isolation, it is shown that a competitive auction with the level of road use as the decision criterion produces the socially optimal road (in terms of capacity and toll level) as the equilibrium outcome, provided constant returns to scale characterize highway operations. The auction outperforms various alternatives, in which the bidders are asked to minimize the toll level or toll revenues, or to maximize capacity or the bid for the franchise. When second-best network aspects are taken into account, the patronage-maximizing auction is no longer optimal. When unpriced congestion on parallel capacity dominates, the second-best highway would generate losses and the zero-profit condition becomes binding. The auction produces a below-optimal capacity. When unpriced congestion on serial capacity dominates, the auction produces an above-optimal capacity.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 62 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 337-361

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:62:y:2007:i:2:p:337-361
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. Newbery, David M, 1988. "Road Damage Externalities and Road User Charges," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 295-316, March.
  2. Yang, Hai & Meng, Qiang, 2002. "A note on "highway pricing and capacity choice in a road network under a build-operate-transfer scheme"," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 659-663, August.
  3. Small, Kenneth A., 1996. "Economies of Scale and Self-Financing Rules with Noncompetitive Factor Markets," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt70m3c7hh, University of California Transportation Center.
  4. Richard Arnott & Marvin Kraus, 1995. "Self-Financing of Congestible Facilities in a Growing Economy," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 304., Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Barry Ubbels & Erik Verhoef, 2004. "Auctioning Concessions for Private Roads," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-008/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Verhoef, Erik T., 2002. "Second-best congestion pricing in general networks. Heuristic algorithms for finding second-best optimal toll levels and toll points," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 707-729, September.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2004008 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Verhoef, Erik & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 1996. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing: The Case of an Untolled Alternative," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 279-302, November.
  9. Erik T. Verhoef, 2000. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing in General Static Transportation Networks with Elastic Demands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-078/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  10. Mills, David E, 1981. "Ownership Arrangements and Congestion-Prone Facilities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 493-502, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Richard Arnott & An Yan, 2000. "The Two-Mode Problem: Second-Best Pricing and Capacity," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 474, Boston College Department of Economics.
  13. Edelson, Noel M, 1971. "Congestion Tolls Under Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(5), pages 873-82, December.
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