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Public Transit Capacity and Users Choice: AnExperiment on Downs-Thomson Paradox

Listed author(s):
  • Laurent Denant-Boemont

    (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - UNICAEN - Université Caen Normandie - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Sabrina Hammiche

    (CREM - Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management - UNICAEN - Université Caen Normandie - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

We study the Downs-Thomson paradox, a situation where an additional road capacitycan cause an overall increase in transport generalized cost and therefore a decrease in welfarefor transport users. To this end, we build an experiment based on a double market-entrygame (DMEG) where users have to choose between road and public transit after that the op-erator has choosen public transit capacity. The optimal strategy for operator is to minimizecapacity, and the equilibrium for users depend on the endogeneous public transit capacitycompared to exogeneous road capacity. The most important result is that we observe theDowns-Thomson paradox empirically in the laboratory: An increase in road capacity causesshift from road to rail and, at the end, increases total travel costs. But the contrary isnot true: A decrease in road capacity does not cause lower total travel costs, which is incontradiction with our theoretical model. Results also show that the capacity chosen byoperator di¤ers from Nash prediction, levels being signi cantly higher than those predictedby our model. Moreover, users coordinate remarkably well on Nash equilibrium entry ratewhile capacity has been chosen by operator.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00405501.

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Date of creation: 10 Jun 2009
Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00405501
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00405501
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  1. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
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  6. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Frédéric Koessler & Kene Boun My & Laurent Denant-Boèmont, 2008. "Road Traffic Congestion and Public Information: An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 42(1), pages 43-82, January.
  7. Duffy, John & Hopkins, Ed, 2005. "Learning, information, and sorting in market entry games: theory and evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 31-62, April.
  8. Selten, R. & Chmura, T. & Pitz, T. & Kube, S. & Schreckenberg, M., 2007. "Commuters route choice behaviour," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 394-406, February.
  9. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "Reciprocity in Ultimatum and Dictator Games: An Introduction," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  10. Andersson, Ola & Holm, Håkan J., 2010. "Endogenous communication and tacit coordination in market entry games: An explorative experimental study," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 477-495, September.
  11. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  12. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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