IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rff/dpaper/dp-00-51.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Estimating the Welfare Effect of Congestion Taxes: The Critical Importance of Other Distortions within the Transport System

Author

Listed:
  • Parry, Ian

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Bento, Antonio

Abstract

This paper uses analytical and numerical models to illustrate how the presence of other distortions within the transport system changes the overall welfare effect of a congestion tax. These other distortions include a transit fare subsidy, congestion on competing (unpriced) routes, accident externalities, gasoline taxes, and pollution externalities. Each of these pre-existing distortions can substantially alter the welfare effect of a congestion tax that would be predicted by a first-best analysis. If congestion taxes encourage travel on other congested routes, they can produce sizeable indirect welfare losses. In addition, induced reductions in the demand for gasoline can lead to substantial welfare losses when, as appears to be the case for European countries, gasoline taxes significantly exceed marginal pollution damages. On the other hand, congestion taxes may produce significant welfare gains by offsetting accident externalities, though these gains are partially offset by increased accidents on competing roadways. To the extent that congestion taxes increase the demand for transit, they can induce significant welfare gains or losses, depending on whether transit fares are above or below marginal supply costs. The importance of other distortions varies considerably across different transport systems and across different countries. Our generic analysis illustrates the proportionate change in the welfare effect of a congestion tax due to each of these distortions over a wide range of parameter scenarios.

Suggested Citation

  • Parry, Ian & Bento, Antonio, 2000. "Estimating the Welfare Effect of Congestion Taxes: The Critical Importance of Other Distortions within the Transport System," Discussion Papers dp-00-51, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-51
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-00-51.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Newbery, David M, 1987. "Road User Charges in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(390), pages 161-176, Supplemen.
    2. Braid, Ralph M., 1996. "Peak-Load Pricing of a Transportation Route with an Unpriced Substitute," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-197, September.
    3. Small, K.A. & Kazimi, C., 1994. "On the Costs of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicules," Papers 94-95-3, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    4. Mohring, Herbert, 1972. "Optimization and Scale Economies in Urban Bus Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, September.
    5. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-1089, September.
    6. Small, Kenneth A. & Gomez-Ibanez, Jose A., 1999. "Urban transportation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 1937-1999 Elsevier.
    7. Verhoef, E.T. & Small, K.A., 1999. "Product Differentiation on Roads Second-Best Congestion Pricing with Heterogeneity under Public and Private Ownership," Papers 99-00-01, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    8. R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster, 1956. "The General Theory of Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 11-32.
    9. Liu, Louie Nan & McDonald, John F., 1998. "Efficient Congestion Tolls in the Presence of Unpriced Congestion: A Peak and Off-Peak Simulation Model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 352-366, November.
    10. Parry, Ian W H & Bento, Antonio, 2001. " Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 645-671, December.
    11. Ian W.H. Parry & Wallace E. Oates, 2000. "Policy analysis in the presence of distorting taxes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 603-613.
    12. 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.
    13. Winston, Clifford, 1985. "Conceptual Development in the Economics of Transportation: An Interpretive Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 57-94, March.
    14. Edward Calthrop & Stef Proost, 1998. "Road Transport Externalities," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 335-348, April.
    15. Viton, Philip A., 1992. "Consolidations of scale and scope in urban transit," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 25-49, March.
    16. Newbery, David M, 1988. "Road Damage Externalities and Road User Charges," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 295-316, March.
    17. Richard Arnott & Kenneth Small, 1993. "The Economics Of Traffic Congestion," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 256, Boston College Department of Economics.
    18. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-253, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L68 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Appliances; Furniture; Other Consumer Durables

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-51. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/degraus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.