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Competition between highway operators: can we expect toll differentiation?

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Calcott

    (School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

  • Shuntian Yao

    (Division of Applied Economics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Abstract

Where there are alternative roads to the same destination, competition between profit maximizing road operators is possible. Tolls on such roads could perform two welfare enhancing functions; discouraging excessive driving and allocating drivers between roads. The second of these functions will typically require some roads to be more expensive to drive on, and to be less congested, than others. Bertrand equilibrium will not always peform this second function. It may fail to allocate the most impatient drivers to less congested roads, as it does not always deliver toll differentiation. The performance of this second function is dependent on the first. That is, whether or not competing roads will be differentiated by tolls and congestion, will depend in part on the importance of discouraging marginal drivers. The equilibrium will not generally be fully efficient, but will often provide efficiency gains over other decentralized options.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Calcott & Shuntian Yao, 2005. "Competition between highway operators: can we expect toll differentiation?," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 0504, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:nan:wpaper:0504
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    File URL: http://www3.ntu.edu.sg/hss2/egc/wp/2005/2005-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee, In Ho & Mason, Robin, 2001. "Market structure in congestible markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 809-818, May.
    2. Edelson, Noel M, 1971. "Congestion Tolls Under Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(5), pages 873-882, December.
    3. Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1995. "Asymmetric equilibria in spatial competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 213-227.
    4. Small, Kenneth A., 2001. "The Value of Pricing," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0rm449sx, University of California Transportation Center.
    5. Hackner, Jonas & Nyberg, Sten, 1996. "Vanity and Congestion: A Study of Reciprocal Externalities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 97-111, February.
    6. Small, Kenneth A. & Yan, Jia, 2001. "The Value of "Value Pricing" of Roads: Second-Best Pricing and Product Differentiation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 310-336, March.
    7. Engel Eduardo M & Fischer Ronald & Galetovic Alexander, 2004. "Toll Competition Among Congested Roads," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, March.
    8. Parry, I. W. H., 2002. "Comparing the efficiency of alternative policies for reducing traffic congestion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 333-362, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Clifford Winston, 2013. "On the Performance of the U.S. Transportation System: Caution Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 773-824, September.
    2. Winston, Clifford & Yan, Jia, 2011. "Can privatization of U.S. highways improve motorists' welfare?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 993-1005.
    3. Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2008. "US Highway Privatization and Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 2008-20, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    4. van den Berg, Vincent A.C. & Verhoef, Erik T., 2012. "Is the travel time of private roads too short, too long, or just right?," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 971-983.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    congestion; road pricing; networks; market structure;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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