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Winning or losing from dynamic bottleneck congestion pricing?

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  • van den Berg, Vincent
  • Verhoef, Erik T.

Abstract

This paper analyses the efficiency and distributional impacts of congestion pricing in Vickrey's (1969) dynamic bottleneck model of congestion, allowing for continuous distributions of values of time and schedule delay. We find that congestion pricing can leave a majority of travellers better off even without returning the toll revenues to them. We also find that the consumer surplus losses or gains from tolling are not strictly monotonic in the value of time, because they also depend on the value of schedule delays. The greatest losses are not incurred by drivers with the lowest value of time, but by users with an intermediate value of schedule delays and the lowest value of time for that value of schedule delays. For second-best pricing with an untolled alternative, the pattern of distributional effects is quite similar to that for first-best pricing. In contrast with results from prior static models, users who are indifferent between the two alternative routes are not the ones who gain least from this type of second-best pricing. Our results suggest that, in assessing the distributional impacts of road congestion pricing, it is important to take into account both the distribution of the value of time and of the value of schedule delays, as well as the dynamics of departure time choice.

Suggested Citation

  • van den Berg, Vincent & Verhoef, Erik T., 2011. "Winning or losing from dynamic bottleneck congestion pricing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 983-992.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:983-992
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.12.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Layard, Richard, 1977. "The Distributional Effects of Congestion Taxes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(175), pages 297-304, August.
    2. Small, Kenneth A. & Yan, Jia, 2001. "The Value of "Value Pricing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 310-336, March.
    3. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
    4. AndrÊ de Palma & Robin Lindsey, 2000. "Private toll roads: Competition under various ownership regimes," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 34(1), pages 13-35.
    5. van den Berg, Vincent & Verhoef, Erik T., 2011. "Congestion tolling in the bottleneck model with heterogeneous values of time," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 60-78, January.
    6. Braid, Ralph M., 1996. "Peak-Load Pricing of a Transportation Route with an Unpriced Substitute," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-197, September.
    7. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 2001. "Marginal tax reform, externalities and income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 343-363, February.
    8. Kenneth A. Small & Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2005. "Uncovering the Distribution of Motorists' Preferences for Travel Time and Reliability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1367-1382, July.
    9. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-260, May.
    10. Small, Kenneth A, 1982. "The Scheduling of Consumer Activities: Work Trips," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 467-479, June.
    11. Parry, I. W. H., 2002. "Comparing the efficiency of alternative policies for reducing traffic congestion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 333-362, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Koster & Hans Koster, 2013. "Analysing Heterogeneity in the Value of Travel Time and Reliability: A Semiparametric Estimation Approach," ERSA conference papers ersa13p1032, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Fosgerau, Mogens & de Palma, André, 2013. "The dynamics of urban traffic congestion and the price of parking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 106-115.
    3. Sergejs Gubins & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Dynamic Congestion and Urban Equilibrium," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-137/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Traffic congestion; Road pricing; Heterogeneity; Distributional impacts; Bottleneck model;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • 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

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