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Flexible-term contracts for road franchising

  • Nombela, Gustavo
  • de Rus, Ginés

Private participation in road projects is increasing around the world. The most popular form of franchising is a concession contract, which allows a private firm to charge tolls to road users during a pre-determined period in order to recover investments. Concessionaires are usually selected through auctions at which candidates submit bids for tolls or payments to the government. This paper discusses how this mechanism does not generally yield optimal outcomes and it induces the frequent contract renegotiations observed in practice. A new franchising mechanism is proposed, based on a flexible-term contract and bi-dimensional bids for total net revenue and maintenance costs. This new mechanism improves outcomes compared to fixed-term concessions, by eliminating traffic risk and promoting the selection of efficient concessionaires.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

Volume (Year): 38 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 163-179

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Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:38:y:2004:i:3:p:163-179
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  1. Milgrom, Paul R, 1979. "A Convergence Theorem for Competitive Bidding with Differential Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 679-88, May.
  2. Klemperer, Paul, 1999. "Auction Theory: a Guide to the Literature," CEPR Discussion Papers 2163, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Working papers 311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. John G. Riley & William Samuelson, 1979. "Optimal Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 152, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  6. Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & Ronald D. Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2001. "Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 993-1020, October.
  7. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 1997. "Highway Franchising: Pitfalls and Opportunities," Documentos de Trabajo 15, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  8. Wilson, Robert, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 511-18, October.
  9. Hinojosa, Sergio & Gomez-Lobo, Andres, 2000. "Broad roads in a thin country - infrastructure concessions in Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2279, The World Bank.
  10. Milgrom, Paul, 1989. "Auctions and Bidding: A Primer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
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