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Second-best road pricing through highway franchising

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  • Verhoef, Erik T.

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Verhoef, Erik T., 2007. "Second-best road pricing through highway franchising," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 337-361, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:62:y:2007:i:2:p:337-361
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1983. "Are Market Forecasts Rational?," NBER Chapters,in: A Rational Expectations Approach to Macroeconomics: Testing Policy Ineffectiveness and Efficient-Markets Models, pages 59-75 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Small, Kenneth A., 1999. "Economies of scale and self-financing rules with non-competitive factor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 431-450.
    3. Erik T. Verhoef, 1998. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing in General Static Transportation Networks with Elastic Demand," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-086/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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    9. Verhoef, Erik T., 2002. "Second-best congestion pricing in general static transportation networks with elastic demands," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, pages 281-310.
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    11. Peter Mulder & Henri de Groot, 2003. "International comparison of sectoral energy- and labour-productivity performance; stylised facts and decomposition of trends," CPB Discussion Paper 22, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities

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