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Can privatization of U.S. highways improve motorists' welfare?

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  • Winston, Clifford
  • Yan, Jia

Abstract

We assess the welfare effects of highway privatization accounting for government's behavior in setting the sale price, firms' strategic behavior in setting tolls, and motorists' heterogeneous preferences for speedy and reliable travel. We find motorists are able to benefit from privatization by negotiating tolls with private providers that increase their consumer surplus. Surprisingly, we find that by obtaining tolls and service that align with their varying preferences, motorists may be better off negotiating with a monopolist than with duopoly providers or under public–private competition. Toll regulation may be counterproductive because it is likely to treat motorists as homogeneous.

Suggested Citation

  • Winston, Clifford & Yan, Jia, 2011. "Can privatization of U.S. highways improve motorists' welfare?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 993-1005.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:993-1005
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.01.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Rouhani, Omid M. & Geddes, R. Richard & Gao, H. Oliver & Bel, Germà, 2016. "Social welfare analysis of investment public–private partnership approaches for transportation projects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 86-103.
    2. Koster, Paul R. & Koster, Hans R.A., 2015. "Commuters’ preferences for fast and reliable travel: A semi-parametric estimation approach," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 81(P1), pages 289-301.
    3. Lee, J.F. Jennifer & Kwok, Peter K. & Williams, Jeffrey, 2014. "Heterogeneity among motorists in traffic-congested areas in southern California," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 281-293.
    4. Rouhani, Omid M. & Niemeier, Debbie & Knittel, Christopher R. & Madani, Kaveh, 2013. "Integrated modeling framework for leasing urban roads: A case study of Fresno, California," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 17-30.
    5. Paul Koster & Hans Koster, 2013. "Commuters' Preferences for Fast and Reliable Travel," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-075/VIII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 30 Apr 2015.
    6. van den Berg, Vincent A.C., 2013. "Serial private infrastructures," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 186-202.
    7. Winston, Clifford & Mannering, Fred, 2014. "Implementing technology to improve public highway performance: A leapfrog technology from the private sector is going to be necessary," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 158-165.
    8. 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.
    9. Pekka Leviäkangas & Tuomo Kinnunen & Aki Aapaoja, 2016. "Infrastructure public-private partnership project ecosystem - financial and economic positioning of stakeholders," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 221-236, February.
    10. van den Berg, Vincent A.C. & Verhoef, Erik T., 2012. "Is the travel time of private roads too short, too long, or just right?," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 971-983.
    11. Omid M. Rouhani & H. Oliver Gao, 2016. "Evaluating Various Road Ownership Structures and Potential Competition on an Urban Road Network," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 1019-1042, December.
    12. Yan, Jia & Winston, Clifford, 2014. "Can private airport competition improve runway pricing? The case of San Francisco Bay area airports," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 146-157.
    13. repec:eee:transb:v:102:y:2017:i:c:p:105-123 is not listed on IDEAS

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