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Congestion Control and Vehicle Ownership Restriction: The Choice of an Optimal Quota Policy

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  • Winston T.H. Koh

Abstract

Singapore introduced a vehicle quota system (VQS) in 1990 as part of its overall policy to control urban congestion. While the VQS has reduced the annual growth rate of the vehicle population to about 3 per cent, it has created uncertainty in the cost of vehicle ownership due to the fluctuations in licence prices. This paper discusses three issues relating to the optimal design of a VQS: licence transferability, sub-categorisation, and the choice of an auction format. The analysis shows that licence transferability is not unambiguously desirable, sub-categorisation is highly regressive, and an open auction format results in less aggressive bidding and lower licence prices. © 2004 LSE and the University of Bath

Suggested Citation

  • Winston T.H. Koh, 2004. "Congestion Control and Vehicle Ownership Restriction: The Choice of an Optimal Quota Policy," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 38(3), pages 371-402, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpe:jtecpo:v:38:y:2004:i:3:p:371-402
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Phang, Sock-Yong & Wong, Wing-Keung & Chia, Ngee-Choon, 1996. "Singapore's experience with car quotas : Issues and policy processes," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 145-153, October.
    2. Willoughby, C., 2001. "Singapore's motorization policies 1960-2000," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 125-139, April.
    3. Liu, Louie Nan & McDonald, John F., 1998. "Efficient Congestion Tolls in the Presence of Unpriced Congestion: A Peak and Off-Peak Simulation Model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 352-366, November.
    4. Koh, Winston T. H., 2003. "Control of vehicle ownership and market competition: theory and Singapore's experience with the vehicle quota system," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 749-770, November.
    5. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, March.
    6. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-392, June.
    7. Chin, Anthony & Smith, Peter, 1997. "Automobile ownership and government policy: The economics of Singapore's vehicle quota scheme," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 129-140, March.
    8. Ling Hui Tan, 2003. "Rationing Rules and Outcomes: The Experience of Singapore's Vehicle Quota System," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(3), pages 1-5.
    9. Verhoef, Erik & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 1996. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing: The Case of an Untolled Alternative," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 279-302, November.
    10. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
    11. Phang, Sock-Yong, 1993. "Singapore's motor vehicle policy: Review of recent changes and a suggested alternative," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 329-336, July.
    12. McCarthy Patrick & Tay Richard, 1993. "Economic Efficiency vs Traffic Restraint: A Note on Singapore's Area License Scheme," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 96-100, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D45 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Rationing; Licensing
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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