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Cost-benefit analysis of transport investments in distorted economies

  • CALTHROP, Edward
  • DE BORGER, Bruno
  • PROOST, Stef

This paper deals with costs-benefit analysis of investment in transport infrastructure. Its contribution is twofold. Firstly, we develop a general equilibrium model to explore the impact of a small budgetary-neutral investment in transport infrastructure in a second-best setting, where other markets in the economy are distorted by taxes or external costs. The model incorporates different transport modes that are used both for intermediate inputs (freight) and for final consumption (passenger travel). An intuitive operational expression for the net economic benefit of an investment is derived that depends on the way the investment is financed. This expression generalizes recent findings in the literature. Secondly, we illustrate the results numerically using a small example. Our findings show that both the specific financing instrument used and the labour market consequences may have large implications for the net benefits of transport investments. Significant errors may be made in limiting cost-benefit analysis to transport markets only.

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Paper provided by University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2008011.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ant:wpaper:2008011
Contact details of provider: Postal: Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerpen
Web page: https://www.uantwerp.be/en/faculties/applied-economic-sciences/

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  1. Bovenberg, A. L. & van der Ploeg, F., 1994. "Environmental policy, public finance and the labour market in a second-best world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 349-390, November.
  2. Fosgerau, Mogens & Pilegaard, Ninette, 2007. "Cost-benefit rules for transport projects when labor supply is endogenous and taxes are distortionary," MPRA Paper 3902, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. DE BORGER, Bruno & PROOST, Stef & VAN DENDER, Kurt, 2004. "Congestion and tax competition in a parallel network," CORE Discussion Papers 2004018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Stéphane Gauthier & Guy Laroque, 2008. "Separability and Public Finance," Working Papers 2008-24, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Parry, Ian W H & Bento, Antonio, 2001. " Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 645-71, December.
  6. Kidokoro, Yukihiro, 2006. "Benefit estimation of transport projects--a representative consumer approach," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 521-542, August.
  7. Sandmo, Agnar, 1998. "Redistribution and the marginal cost of public funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 365-382, December.
  8. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 1997. " Optimal Tax and Public Investment Rules for Congestion Type of Externalities," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 261-79, June.
  9. De Borger, B. & Dunkerley, F. & Proost, S., 2007. "Strategic investment and pricing decisions in a congested transport corridor," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 294-316, September.
  10. Ballard, Charles L. & Medema, Steven G., 1993. "The marginal efficiency effects of taxes and subsidies in the presence of externalities : A computational general equilibrium approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 199-216, September.
  11. Liu, Liqun, 2003. "A marginal cost of funds approach to multi-period public project evaluation: implications for the social discount rate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1707-1718, August.
  12. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 2001. "Marginal tax reform, externalities and income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 343-363, February.
  13. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2006. "The marginal cost of public funds: Hours of work versus labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1955-1973, November.
  14. H. C. W. L. Williams & D. Van Vliet & C. Parathira & K. S. Kim, 2001. "Highway Investment Benefits under Alternative Pricing Regimes," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 35(2), pages 257-284, May.
  15. Yoshitsugu Kanemoto & Koichi Mera, 1984. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Benefits of Large Transportation Improvements," Working Papers 567, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  16. Yukihiro Kidokoro, 2004. "Cost-Benefit Analysis for Transport Networks: Theory and Application," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 38(2), pages 275-307, May.
  17. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stern, N H, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 119-28, January.
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