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End of the line: Railroads in Chile


  • Raimundo Soto

    () (Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.)


Between 1860 and 1950, railroads in Chile were synonym of modernization, integration, and economic development. By the 1970s railroads were bankrupt and socially discredited, surviving out of government subsidies. By 2000, passenger services had disappeared but private sector freight operations were revitalized after swift reforms. We review the Chilean reforms and experience, focusing on regulation, public sector involvement and political interference, market entry, vertical integration, and externalities. Perhaps uniquely, two different forms of private sector participation in freight operations emerge after reforms: a vertically integrated, privatized railroad and a state-owned, open-access, concession system.

Suggested Citation

  • Raimundo Soto, 2010. "End of the line: Railroads in Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 391, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  • Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:391

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Michael Haines & Robert A. Margo, 2009. "Did Railroads Induce or Follow Economic Growth? Urbanization and Population Growth in the American Midwest, 1850-60," NBER Working Papers 14640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mette Asmild & Torben Holvad & Jens Hougaard & Dorte Kronborg, 2009. "Railway reforms: do they influence operating efficiency?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 36(5), pages 617-638, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Laurino, Antonio & Ramella, Francesco & Beria, Paolo, 2015. "The economic regulation of railway networks: A worldwide survey," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 202-212.

    More about this item


    Railways; divestiture; regulation; industrial organization;

    JEL classification:

    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation

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