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Welfare Effects of Open-Access Competition on Railway Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Broman, Emanuel

    (CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI))

  • Eliasson, Jonas

    (City of Stockholm Traffic Department)

Abstract

In recent years, several countries have deregulated passenger railway markets to allow open access. The aim is for competition to lower fares and increase quality of service, thereby increasing demand, economic efficiency and overall social welfare. In this paper, we use a stylised simulation model to study how open access competition affects fares, demand, supply, consumer surplus and operator profits compared to a profit-maximising monopoly and to a welfare-maximising benchmark situation. We conclude that aggregate social welfare increases substantially when going from profit-maximising monopoly to duopoly competition, as consumers make large gains while operators’ profits fall. According to simulations, there generally exists a stable competitive Nash equilibrium with two or more profitable operators. Although operators are identical in the model setup, the Nash equilibrium outcome is asymmetric: one operator has more departures and higher average fares than the other. If operators are allowed to collude, however, for example by trading or selling departure slots, the equilibrium situation tends to revert to monopoly: it will be profitable for one operator to buy the other’s departure slots to gain monopoly power. The regulatory framework must therefore prevent collusion and facilitate market entry. Even the potential for competitive entry tends to increase social welfare, as the monopolist has incentives to increase supply as an entry deterrence strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Broman, Emanuel & Eliasson, Jonas, 2018. "Welfare Effects of Open-Access Competition on Railway Markets," Working papers in Transport Economics 2018:12, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ctswps:2018_012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Ristić, Bojan & Stojadinović, Nikola & Trifunović, Dejan, 2022. "Conditions for effective on-track competition in the European passenger railway market: A yardstick for regulations," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1-15.
    9. Brand, Christina & Sieg, Gernot, 2022. "An integral interval timetable for long-distance passenger rail services: Time to reconsider targeting on-track competition," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 32(C).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    open access; rail reform; capacity allocation; passenger;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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