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Contract Renewal as an Incentive Device. An Application to the French Urban Public Transport Sector


  • Axel Gautier
  • Anne Yvrande-Billon


In the French urban public transport industry, services are often delegated to a private firm by the mean of a fixed-term regulatory contract. This contract specifies the duties of the firm and a financial compensation. When it expires, a new contract is awarded, possibly to a different operator. Cost-plus and fixed-price (gross cost or net cost) contracts are commonly used to regulate the operators in the transport industry. In this paper, we analyse the incentives for the operator to reduce its cost. These incentives come from both the profit maximization during the current contract and the perspective of contract renewal. In our model, the amount of cost-reducing effort depends on the contract type and the time remaining till contract expiration. We use a sample of 124 French urban public transport networks covering the period 1995-2002 to test our predictions. Our proxy for the cost reducing effort is technical efficiency. The data largely confirm the importance of contract type on performances and the incentive effect of contract renewal.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Gautier & Anne Yvrande-Billon, 2008. "Contract Renewal as an Incentive Device. An Application to the French Urban Public Transport Sector," CREPP Working Papers 0805, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpp:wpaper:0805

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Boitani & Marcella Nicolini & Carlo Scarpa, 2013. "Do competition and ownership matter? Evidence from local public transport in Europe," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(11), pages 1419-1434, April.
    2. Freddy Huet & Simon Porcher, 2013. "Innovation and regulatory outcomes: evidence from the public-private contracts for water supply in France," Chapters,in: Governance, Regulation and Innovation, chapter 9, pages 216-236 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Avenali, Alessandro & Boitani, Andrea & Catalano, Giuseppe & D’Alfonso, Tiziana & Matteucci, Giorgio, 2016. "Assessing standard costs in local public bus transport: Evidence from Italy," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 164-174.
    4. Mouwen, Arnoud & van Ommeren, Jos, 2016. "The effect of contract renewal and competitive tendering on public transport costs, subsidies and ridership," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 78-89.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation


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