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

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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Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

Volume (Year): 3 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 292-379

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Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:3:y:2006:i:2:p:292-379
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  1. De Vany, Arthur & Saving, Thomas R, 1980. "Competition and Highway Pricing for Stochastic Traffic," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 45-60, January.
  2. Mills, David E, 1981. "Ownership Arrangements and Congestion-Prone Facilities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 493-502, June.
  3. Rothengatter, Werner, 2003. "How good is first best? Marginal cost and other pricing principles for user charging in transport," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 121-130, April.
  4. Verhoef, Erik T., 2002. "Second-best congestion pricing in general static transportation networks with elastic demands," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 281-310, May.
  5. Fielding, Gordon J. & Klein, Daniel B., 1993. "How To Franchise Highways," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt79z9x6fs, University of California Transportation Center.
  6. Keeler, Theodore E & Small, Kenneth A, 1977. "Optimal Peak-Load Pricing, Investment, and Service Levels on Urban Expressways," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 1-25, February.
  7. William H. Sandholm, 2005. "Negative Externalities and Evolutionary Implementation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 885-915.
  8. Arnott, Richard & Kraus, Marvin, 1998. "When are anonymous congestion charges consistent with marginal cost pricing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 45-64, January.
  9. David M. Newbery & Georgina Santos, 1999. "Road taxes, road user charges and earmarking," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(2), pages 103-132, June.
  10. William H. Sandholm, 2002. "Evolutionary Implementation and Congestion Pricing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 667-689.
  11. Nash, Chris, 2003. "Marginal cost and other pricing principles for user charging in transport: a comment," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 345-348, October.
  12. Chernick, Howard & Reschovsky, Andrew, 1997. "Who Pays the Gasoline Tax?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 233-59, June.
  13. Richard Arnott & Tilmann Rave & Ronnie Schöb, 2005. "Alleviating Urban Traffic Congestion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012197, March.
  14. Harrington, Winston & Krupnick, Alan J. & Alberini, Anna, 2001. "Overcoming public aversion to congestion pricing," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 87-105, February.
  15. Newbery, David M, 1989. "Cost Recovery from Optimally Designed Roads," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(222), pages 165-85, May.
  16. Shorey Peterson, 1932. "Highway Policy on A Commercial Basis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 417-443.
  17. Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
  18. Calfee, John & Winston, Clifford, 1998. "The value of automobile travel time: implications for congestion policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 83-102, July.
  19. Glazer, Amihai, 1981. "Congestion Tolls and Consumer Welfare," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 36(1), pages 77-83.
  20. F. H. Knight, 1924. "Some Fallacies in the Interpretation of Social Cost," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 582-606.
  21. Hensher, David A. & Puckett, Sean M., 2005. "Road user charging: The global relevance of recent developments in the United Kingdom," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 377-383, September.
  22. Pierre-Henri DERYCKE, 1998. "Road pricing-Analysis and policies (A historical perspective)," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1998014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  23. William Vickrey, 1971. "Responsive Pricing of Public Utility Services," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 337-346, Spring.
  24. William Vickrey, 1948. "Some Objections to Marginal-Cost Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 218.
  25. Edelson, Noel M, 1971. "Congestion Tolls Under Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(5), pages 873-82, December.
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  27. Lars-Olof Johansson & Mathias Gustafsson & Gunnar Falkemark & Tommy Gärling & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2003. "Goal conflicts in political decisionmaking: a survey of municipality politicians' views of road pricing," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 21(4), pages 615-624, August.
  28. Newbery, David M, 1988. "Road Damage Externalities and Road User Charges," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 295-316, March.
  29. repec:ucp:bkecon:9781884829987 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Lars-Olof Johansson & Mathias Gustafsson & Gunnar Falkemark & Tommy Gärling & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2003. "Goal Conflicts in Political Decisionmaking: A Survey of Municipality Politicians' Views of Road Pricing," Environment and Planning C, SAGE Publishing, vol. 21(4), pages 615-624, August.
  31. Verhoef, Erik T., 2002. "Second-best congestion pricing in general networks. Heuristic algorithms for finding second-best optimal toll levels and toll points," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 707-729, September.
  32. Feldstein, Martin S, 1972. "Distributional Equity and the Optimal Structure of Public Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 32-36, March.
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  34. Layard, Richard, 1977. "The Distributional Effects of Congestion Taxes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(175), pages 297-304, August.
  35. Gregory B. Christainsen, 2006. "Road Pricing in Singapore after 30 Years," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 26(1), pages 71-88, Winter.
  36. Ralph Turvey, 1968. "Peak-Load Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 101.
  37. Farrell, Séona & Saleh, Wafaa, 2005. "Road-user charging and the modelling of revenue allocation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 431-442, September.
  38. Ward Elliott, 2000. "Greenbacks Uber Gridlock: REACH Task Force Shows L.A. How to Save Billions in Smog and Congestion Costs," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-42, Claremont Colleges.
  39. Newbery, David M, 1990. "Pricing and Congestion: Economic Principles Relevant to Pricing Roads," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 22-38, Summer.
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