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Which consumers benefit from congestion tolls?


  • Glazer, Amihai
  • Niskanen, Esko


Consider a consumer who can choose to travel on a congestible fast mode or on a congestible slow mode. Users who most value time will use the fast mode. A toll on the slow mode can induce some people who initially use that mode to switch to the fast mode. A toll on the slow mode with revenue not returned to users then necessarily reduces the welfare of all users. A toll on the fast mode may raise aggregate consumer surplus.

Suggested Citation

  • Glazer, Amihai & Niskanen, Esko, 2000. "Which consumers benefit from congestion tolls?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt70v033nx, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt70v033nx

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Layard, Richard, 1977. "The Distributional Effects of Congestion Taxes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(175), pages 297-304, August.
    2. Small, Kenneth A. & Gomez-Ibanez, Jose A., 1999. "Urban transportation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 1937-1999 Elsevier.
    3. Glazer, Amihai, 1981. "Congestion Tolls and Consumer Welfare," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 36(1), pages 77-83.
    4. F. H. Knight, 1924. "Some Fallacies in the Interpretation of Social Cost," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 582-606.
    5. Niskanen, Esko, 1987. "Congestion tolls and consumer welfare," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 171-174, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Armelius, Hanna & Hultkrantz, Lars, 2006. "The politico-economic link between public transport and road pricing: An ex-ante study of the Stockholm road-pricing trial," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 162-172, March.
    2. Hultkrantz, Lars & Liu, Xing, 2012. "Green cars sterilize congestion charges: A model analysis of the reduced impact of Stockholm road tolls," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 110-118.
    3. Hultkrantz, Lars & Nilsson, Jan-Eric & Arvidsson, Sara, 2012. "Voluntary internalization of speeding externalities with vehicle insurance," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 926-937.
    4. Börjesson, Maria & Kristoffersson, Ida, 2014. "Assessing the welfare effects of congestion charges in a real world setting," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 339-355.
    5. Wang, Judith Y.T. & Lindsey, Robin & Yang, Hai, 2011. "Nonlinear pricing on private roads with congestion and toll collection costs," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 9-40, January.
    6. Lisa Schweitzer & Brian Taylor, 2008. "Just pricing: the distributional effects of congestion pricing and sales taxes," Transportation, Springer, vol. 35(6), pages 797-812, November.
    7. Timilsina, Govinda R. & Dulal, Hari B., 2008. "Fiscal policy instruments for reducing congestion and atmospheric emissions in the transport sector : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4652, The World Bank.
    8. Daniel Albalate & Germa Bel, 2008. "Shaping urban traffic patterns through congestion charging: What factors drive success or failure?," IREA Working Papers 200801, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jan 2008.
    9. Kutzbach, Mark J., 2009. "Motorization in developing countries: Causes, consequences, and effectiveness of policy options," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 154-166, March.
    10. Leonid Engelson & Ida Kristoffersson & Mohammad Saifuzzaman & André De Palma & Kiarash Motamedi, 2013. "Comparison of two dynamic transportation models: The case of Stockholm congestion charging," Working Papers hal-00779285, HAL.
    11. West, Jens & Börjesson, Maria, 2016. "The Gothenburg congestion charges: CBA and equity," Working papers in Transport Economics 2016:17, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    12. Jonas Westin, 2011. "Labor Market Effects of Road Pricing in a Population with Continuously Distributed Value of Time," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1458, European Regional Science Association.
    13. Holgun-Veras, Jos & Cetin, Mecit, 2009. "Optimal tolls for multi-class traffic: Analytical formulations and policy implications," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 445-467, May.
    14. Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
    15. Börjesson, Maria & Kristoffersson, Ida, 2012. "Estimating welfare effects of congestion charges in real world settings," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:13, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).

    More about this item


    Social and Behavioral Sciences;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures


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