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The impact of competition on productive efficiency in European railways

  • Gertjan Driessen
  • Mark Lijesen
  • Machiel Mulder

This paper empirically explores the relationship between competition design and productive efficiency in the railway industry. We use Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to construct efficiency scores, and explain these scores, using variables reflecting institutional factors and competition design. Our results suggest that competitive tendering improves productive efficiency, which is in line with economic intuition as well as with expectations on the design of competition. We also find that free entry lowers productive efficiency. A possible explanation for this result is that free entry may disable railway operators to reap economies of density. Our final result is that more autonomy of management lowers productive efficiency. Most of the incumbent railway companies are state owned and do not face any competitive pressure. As a consequence, increased independence without sufficient competition and adequate regulation may deteriorate incentives for productive efficiency.

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Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 71.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:71
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  1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  2. Pedro Cantos & José Pastor & Lorenzo Serrano, 1999. "Productivity, efficiency and technical change in the European railways: A non-parametric approach," Transportation, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 337-357, November.
  3. Friebel, Guido & Ivaldi, Marc & Vibes, Catherine, 2004. "Railway (De)Regulation: A European Efficiency Comparison," CEPR Discussion Papers 4319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. John Vickers & George Yarrow, 1991. "Economic Perspectives on Privatization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 111-132, Spring.
  5. Melville L. McMillan & Debasish Datta, 1998. "The Relative Efficiencies of Canadian Universities: A DEA Perspective," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(4), pages 485-511, December.
  6. Mehdi Farsi & Massimo Filippini & William Greene, 2005. "Efficiency Measurement in Network Industries: Application to the Swiss Railway Companies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 69-90, 07.
  7. Caves, Douglas W & Christensen, Laurits R, 1980. "The Relative Efficiency of Public and Private Firms in a Competitive Environment: The Case of Canadian Railroads," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 958-76, October.
  8. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cantos, Pedro & Maudos, Joaqui­n, 2001. "Regulation and efficiency: the case of European railways," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 459-472, June.
  10. Fumitoshi Mizutani & Kiyoshi Nakamura, 2004. "The Japanese Experience with Railway Restructuring," NBER Chapters, in: Governance, Regulation, and Privatization in the Asia-Pacific Region, NBER East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 12, pages 305-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Disney, Richard F & Haskel, Jonathan & Heden, Ylva, 2000. "Restructuring And Productivity Growth In UK Manufacturing," CEPR Discussion Papers 2463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Gathon, H.-J. & Pestieau, P., . "Decomposing efficiency into its managerial and its regulatory components: The case of European railways," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1133, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1991. "Efficiency and Privatisation in Imperfectly Competitive Industries," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 311-21, March.
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