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On subsidising auto-commuting


  • Edward Calthrop

    () (K.U.Leuven, C.E.S., Energy, Transport and Environment)


Evidence suggests that a considerable proportion of peak-period trips are made for purposes other than for commuting to or from work. Given the different degrees of Hicksian complementarity with the labour market, optimal tax theory suggests that, in a second-best world, different trip purposes should be taxed at different rates. This paper explores this issue and argues for a uniform congestion toll (independent of trip purpose) combined with a subsidy to auto-commuters. A numerical model suggests that while, in the absence of congestion tolls, commuting subsidies are welfare decreasing, an optimal pricing scheme entails auto-commuters receiving a subsidy of nearly 50 per cent of the uniform road toll.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward Calthrop, 2001. "On subsidising auto-commuting," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0113, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:etewps:ete0113

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Segerson, Kathleen, 1988. "Uncertainty and incentives for nonpoint pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 87-98, March.
    3. Gould, John P., 1974. "Risk, stochastic preference, and the value of information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 64-84, May.
    4. Hess, James, 1982. "Risk and the gain from information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 231-238, June.
    5. Yves Zenou, 2003. "The Spatial Aspects of Crime," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 459-467, 04/05.
    6. Franckx Laurent, 2002. "Ambient environmental inspections and commitment towards enforcement policies: substitutes or complements?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-20, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • 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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