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Do Economists Reach A Conclusion on Road Pricing? The Intellectual History of an Idea

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  • Robin Lindsey

Abstract

My search of the economic literature did not find a soul who favours traffic jams. Moreover, I find strong consensus among economists on how to reduce traffic jams. Especially in light of modern electronic toll collection, they believe in pricing highway capacity as a scarce resource. Beyond that primary insight, however, there is much disagreement. Economists disagree over how to set tolls, how to cover common costs, what to do with any excess revenues, whether and how “losers†from tolling previously free roads should be compensated, and whether to privatize highways. These disagreements fill a lot of pages, while the main point of agreement is largely taken for granted. Practically all economists who write on the matter agree that where there is significant congestion on highways, the price should not be zero.

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  • Robin Lindsey, 2006. "Do Economists Reach A Conclusion on Road Pricing? The Intellectual History of an Idea," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(2), pages 292-379, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:3:y:2006:i:2:p:292-379
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tan, Zhijia & Yang, Hai & Guo, Xiaolei, 2010. "Properties of Pareto-efficient contracts and regulations for road franchising," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 415-433, May.
    2. Ian W.H. Parry, 2009. "Pricing Urban Congestion," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 461-484, September.
    3. Rotaris, Lucia & Danielis, Romeo & Marcucci, Edoardo & Massiani, Jérôme, 2010. "The urban road pricing scheme to curb pollution in Milan, Italy: Description, impacts and preliminary cost-benefit analysis assessment," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 359-375, June.
    4. repec:eee:trapol:v:63:y:2018:i:c:p:98-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tan, Zhijia & Yang, Hai, 2012. "The impact of user heterogeneity on road franchising," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 958-975.
    6. Nelson, Tim & Orton, Fiona, 2013. "A new approach to congestion pricing in electricity markets: Improving user pays pricing incentives," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-7.
    7. Robin Lindsey, 2010. "Reforming Road User Charges: A Research Challenge For Regional Science," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 471-492.
    8. Tan, Zhijia & Yang, Hai, 2012. "Flexible build-operate-transfer contracts for road franchising under demand uncertainty," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1419-1439.
    9. Parry, Ian, 2015. "Designing Fiscal Policy to Address the External Costs of Energy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 8(1), pages 1-56, May.
    10. Nie, Yu (Marco) & Yin, Yafeng, 2013. "Managing rush hour travel choices with tradable credit scheme," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 1-19.
    11. Lou, Yingyan & Yin, Yafeng & Lawphongpanich, Siriphong, 2010. "Robust congestion pricing under boundedly rational user equilibrium," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 15-28, January.
    12. Yang, Hai & Wang, Xiaolei, 2011. "Managing network mobility with tradable credits," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 580-594, March.
    13. Nagy, Benedek, 2012. "A repülőtéri zsúfoltságkezelési módszerek hatékonysága
      [The efficiency of methods to treat crowding in airports]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 74-91.
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    15. Bao, Yue & Gao, Ziyou & Yang, Hai & Xu, Meng & Wang, Guangmin, 2017. "Private financing and mobility management of road network with tradable credits," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 158-176.
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    18. Neuteleers, Stijn & Mulder, Machiel & Hindriks, Frank, 2017. "Assessing fairness of dynamic grid tariffs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 111-120.
    19. Carmona, Miguel, 2010. "The regulatory function in public-private partnerships for the provision of transport infrastructure," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 110-125.
    20. Hall, Jonathan D., 2018. "Pareto improvements from Lexus Lanes: The effects of pricing a portion of the lanes on congested highways," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 113-125.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Road pricing; tolls; toll collection; toll roads; turnpikes; highways; marginal-cost pricing; traffic congestion; Pigouvian taxes; economists;

    JEL classification:

    • B29 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Other
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • 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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