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The Ramsey Problem for Congestible Facilities

  • Richard Arnott
  • Marvin Kraus

In recent years, a new set of models drawing on Vickrey [1969] has been developed to analyze the economics of congestible facilities. These models are structural in that they derive the cost function from consumers' time-of-use decisions and the congestion technology. Standard models, in contrast, simply assume the general form of the cost function. We apply the new approach to analyze the Ramsey problem for a congestible facility, and show that the solution generally entails cost inefficiency. Standard models have failed to reveal this result because they treat the cost function as completely determined by technology.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Technical Working Papers with number 0084.

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Date of creation: May 1994
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 50 (1993) pp. 371-396
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0084
Note: PE
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  1. Guesnerie, R., 1980. "Second-best pricing rules in the Boiteux tradition : Derivation, review and discussion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 51-80, February.
  2. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 229-64, May.
  3. Guesnerie, Roger & Roberts, Kevin, 1984. "Effective Policy Tools and Quantity Controls," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 59-86, January.
  4. Mohring, Herbert, 1970. "The Peak Load Problem with Increasing Returns and Pricing Constraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(4), pages 693-705, September.
  5. Small, Kenneth A, 1982. "The Scheduling of Consumer Activities: Work Trips," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 467-79, June.
  6. Braid, Ralph M., 1989. "Uniform versus peak-load pricing of a bottleneck with elastic demand," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 320-327, November.
  7. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  8. Sam Bucovetsky, 1984. "On the Use of Distributional Waits," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 699-717, November.
  9. Richard Arnott & Andre de Palma & Robin Lindsey, 1987. "Bottleneck Congestion with Elastic Demand," Working Papers 690, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  10. Baumol, William J & Bradford, David F, 1970. "Optimal Departures from Marginal Cost Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 265-83, June.
  11. Smith, M. J., 1983. "The existence and calculation of traffic equilibria," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 291-303, August.
  12. Auerbach, Alan J., 1985. "The theory of excess burden and optimal taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 61-127 Elsevier.
  13. Richard Arnott, 1986. "Information and Time-Of-Use Decisions in Stochastically Congestable Facilities," Discussion Papers 788, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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