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Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising

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  • Eduardo M. R. A. Engel
  • Ronald D. Fischer
  • Alexander Galetovic

Abstract

In this paper we show that fixed-term contracts, which are commonly used to franchise highways, do not allocate demand risk optimally. We characterize the optimal risk-sharing contract and show that it can be implemented with a fairly straightforward mechanisma least-present-value-of-revenue auction. Instead of bidding on tolls (or franchise lengths), as in the case of fixed-term franchises, in an LPVR auction the bidding variable is the present value of toll revenues. The lowest bid wins and the franchise ends when that amount has been collected. We also show that the welfare gains that can be attained by replacing fixed-term auctions with LPVR auctions are substantial.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & Ronald D. Fischer & Alexander Galetovic, 2001. "Least-Present-Value-of-Revenue Auctions and Highway Franchising," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 993-1020, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:109:y:2001:i:5:p:993-1020
    DOI: 10.1086/322832
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oliver E. Williamson, 1976. "Franchise Bidding for Natural Monopolies -- in General and with Respect to CATV," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 73-104, Spring.
    2. Kenneth J. Arrow & Robert C. Lind, 1974. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Chennat Gopalakrishnan (ed.), Classic Papers in Natural Resource Economics, chapter 3, pages 54-75, Palgrave Macmillan.
    3. Riordan, Michael H & Sappington, David E M, 1987. "Awarding Monopoly Franchises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 375-387, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods

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