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The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America

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  • Klein, Daniel B

Abstract

The turnpike companies of early America (roughly 1795-1840) were very unprofitable, but conferred vast benefits to communities served. Purchasing stock was like paying for the road since such purchases were necessary to complete the road and unprofitability was foreseen. Thus, the turnpikes would appear to have been public goods. Yet, hundreds of turnpikes were provided through voluntary association. The free rider problem was overcome by an almost vigilant impulse to participate and to see that your neighbor did likewise. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Klein, Daniel B, 1990. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(4), pages 788-812, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:28:y:1990:i:4:p:788-812
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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Brubaker, Earl R, 1975. "Free Ride, Free Revelation, or Golden Rule?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 147-161, April.
    3. Coase, R H, 1974. "The Lighthouse in Economics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 357-376, October.
    4. Seavoy, Ronald E., 1978. "The Public Service Origins of the American Business Corporation," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 30-60, March.
    5. Bohm, Peter, 1972. "Estimating demand for public goods: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 111-130.
    6. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-197, Summer.
    7. Peter Bohm, 1972. "Estimating the demand for public goods: An experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00126, The Field Experiments Website.
    8. Marwell, Gerald & Ames, Ruth E., 1981. "Economists free ride, does anyone else? : Experiments on the provision of public goods, IV," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 295-310, June.
    9. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-787, December.
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    1. repec:spr:grdene:v:23:y:2014:i:5:d:10.1007_s10726-013-9342-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Laurent Carnis, 2013. "The provision of lighthouses services: a political economy perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 51-56, October.
    3. Dan Bogart, 2012. "Profiting from Public Works: Financial Returns to Infrastructure and Investment Strategies during Britain's Industrial Revolution," Working Papers 121304, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    4. Sarah Jacobson & Ragan Petrie, 2014. "Favor trading in public good provision," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(3), pages 439-460, September.
    5. Klein, D.B. & Yin, C., 1994. "The Private Provision of Frontier Infrastructure: Toll Roads in California, 1850-1902," Papers 94-95-4, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    6. Dan Bogart, 2009. "Turnpike trusts and property income: new evidence on the effects of transport improvements and legislation in eighteenth-century England -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(1), pages 128-152, February.
    7. Bryan Caplan & Edward Stringham, 2003. "Networks, Law, and the Paradox of Cooperation," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 309-326, December.
    8. Block Walter, 1998. "Roads, Bridges, Sunlight and Private Property: Reply to Tullock," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2-3), pages 1-12, June.
    9. Dan Bogart & John Majewski, 2008. "Two Roads to the Transportation Revolution: Early Corporations in the United Kingdom and the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Understanding Long-Run Economic Growth: Geography, Institutions, and the Knowledge Economy, pages 177-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David Levinson, 2001. "Road Pricing in Practice," Working Papers 199903, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    11. Fielding, Gordon J. & Klein, Daniel B., 1993. "How To Franchise Highways," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt79z9x6fs, University of California Transportation Center.
    12. Shilony, Yuval, 2000. "Diversity and ingenuity in voluntary collective action," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 429-443, September.
    13. Mark Koyama, 2012. "Prosecution Associations in Industrial Revolution England: Private Providers of Public Goods?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 95-130.
    14. Carnis Laurent, 2014. "The Political Economy of Lighthouses: Some Further Considerations," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 143-165, December.
    15. repec:bla:ajecsc:v:76:y:2017:i:5:p:1107-1132 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Carnis Laurent, 2003. "The Case for Road Privatization: a Defense by Restitution," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-24, March.
    17. Levinson, David, 1997. "Case Study: Road Pricing In Practice," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt0w06s4n2, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    18. Gabriel García Morales, 2011. "Opportunistic renegotiation of infrastructure concessions as rent seeking: the effect of legal systems Gabriel Garcia Morales," REVISTA ECONOMÍA & REGIÓN, UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLÓGICA DE BOLÍVAR, March.

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