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On the economic and budgetary effects of investments in SCUTS: the Portuguese toll-free highways

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  • Alfredo Pereira

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  • Jorge Andraz

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Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on the economic and budgetary effects of the recent investments in toll-free highways in Portugal, the so-called SCUTS, in an effort to bring some clarity to the current policy debate on these highways. This debate is centered on the issue of the financial sustainability of these highways for the public sector and is derived from the fact that their financing through public-private partnerships and shadow tolls involves regular payments from the public budget to the private firms operating them. In this context, the introduction of tolls has been suggested as a mechanism to alleviate possible budgetary pressures. Our first main conclusion is that investments in SCUTS have positive economic effects in all regions of the country. Furthermore, we find that regional spillovers account for about threequarters of the total effects of these investments. A paradigmatic case is Lisbon, a region that captures the greatest share of these effects without any investments having actually occurred in the region itself. Our second main conclusion is that investments in SCUTS do not seem to generate problems of financial sustainability for the public budget. We estimate that for all SCUTS, the equilibrium tax rate, i.e., the rate that would balance the tax revenues induced by these highways and the shadow tolls the government has to pay, is lower than the effective tax rate for the economy. As a corollary and from a policy standpoint our results suggest that the introduction of tolls is questionable from a conceptual perspective due to the magnitude of spillovers and seems to be unnecessary from a financial perspective.
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Suggested Citation

  • Alfredo Pereira & Jorge Andraz, 2012. "On the economic and budgetary effects of investments in SCUTS: the Portuguese toll-free highways," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 48(1), pages 321-338, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:48:y:2012:i:1:p:321-338
    DOI: 10.1007/s00168-010-0404-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eduardo Engel & Ronald Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2013. "The Basic Public Finance Of Public–Private Partnerships," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 83-111, February.
    2. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
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    4. Alfredo Marvão Pereira & Oriol Roca-Sagales, 2007. "Public infrastructure and regional asymmetries in Spain," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Armand Colin, vol. 0(3), pages 503-519.
    5. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense? A Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 943-948, November.
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    8. Alfredo Pereira & Jorge Andraz, 2006. "Public investment in transportation infrastructures and regional asymmetries in Portugal," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 40(4), pages 803-817, December.
    9. Alfredo Pereira & Jorge Andraz, 2004. "Public highway spending and state spillovers in the USA," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(12), pages 785-788.
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    Cited by:

    1. Naoyuki Yoshino & Umid Abidhadjaev, 2015. "An Impact Evaluation of Investment in Infrastructure : The Case of the Railway Connection in Uzbekistan," Working Papers id:7743, eSocialSciences.
    2. Alfredo M. Pereira & Jorge M. Andraz, 2013. "On The Economic Effects Of Public Infrastructure Investment: A Survey Of The International Evidence," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 1-37, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    C32; H54; R53;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock

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