IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Public Transit Subsidy: from the Economics of Welfare to the Theory of Incentives

  • D. Fabbri

Public Transit is publicly managed almost all over Europe. Public intervention in this sector is due to market failures: economies of scale and misperceptions of social and private costs may cause an insufficient supply of transit services. These arguments have been thouroughly analyzed within the standard welfarist approach to the theory and practice of subsidization. Ramsey rules and cost-benefit analysis emerged as useful devices for the definition of subsidy allocation. However remedies to market failures should be traded-off against government failures. Lack of incentives, X-inefficiency, regulatory capture, bureaucracy power are common facts in the internal organization of public administration. If a public sector utility, for some reasons, can not be completely privatized, it may be "almost" privatized by means of quasi-market mechanisms. Auctioning, yardistick competition, incentive schemes, auditing, regulation through competition are the keywords for the renewed public involvment in public transit. All these mechanisms can be properly studied within the theoretical format of the incentives theory. This approach helps us to understand past experiences of transit firms incentives scheme and to appreciate the relevance of the empirical analysis of performance indicators. An important question that emerges is the definition of operational incentive contracts. In this paper we will discuss this problem by referring to past and recent experiments with performance based subsidization programs.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 220.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:220
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Piazza Scaravilli, 2, and Strada Maggiore, 45, 40125 Bologna

Phone: +39 051 209 8019 and 2600
Fax: +39 051 209 8040 and 2664
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:220. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.