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Lobbying and the political economy of pricing car access to downtown commercial districts

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  • DE BORGER, Bruno
  • RUSSO, Antonio

Abstract

We develop a positive theory of pricing car access (by parking fees or cordon tolls) to downtown commercial districts. The model accounts for the special interests of downtown retailers and competing superstores at the edge of the city, and studies how lobbying by both groups shapes the government’s policy. We find that downtown retailers typically have steeper lobbying contribution schedules than superstores, which induces the government to underprice central roads and parking spaces. This result is strengthened if some consumers visit both downtown and edge of town retailers. The presence of an alternative travel mode (e.g. public transport) does not weaken downtown retailers’ incentives to oppose car tariffs. Finally, extending the model to allow for lobbying by residents within the downtown retail district we find that residents may lobby for higher or lower parking fees, depending on their relative concern for the vitality of the central district. As a consequence, depending on parameter values, the outcome of lobbying may produce car fees below or above first-best levels. We argue that our results are in line with empirical observations.

Suggested Citation

  • DE BORGER, Bruno & RUSSO, Antonio, 2015. "Lobbying and the political economy of pricing car access to downtown commercial districts," Working Papers 2015012, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ant:wpaper:2015012
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    Cited by:

    1. Ersoy, Fulya Yuksel & Hasker, Kevin & Inci, Eren, 2016. "Parking as a loss leader at shopping malls," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 98-112.
    2. De Borger, Bruno & Russo, Antonio, 2017. "The political economy of pricing car access to downtown commercial districts," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 76-93.
    3. Inga Molenda & Gernot Sieg, 2017. "To pay or not to pay for parking at shopping malls - A rationale from the perspective of two-sided markets," Working Papers 23, Institute of Transport Economics, University of Muenster.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parking; Road pricing; Lobbying; Retailers; Superstores;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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