IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Rail cost functions and scale elasticities: a meta-analysis


  • Pels, Eric

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics)

  • Rietveld, Piet


There is an abundance of literature on cost functions and economies of scale in the rail sector. Results from such studies are used in decisions on privatization, regulation and mergers. Different studies may, however, come to very different conclusions. In this paper we examine the results of studies on rail cost functions, and try to explain the difference in the results in a statistical analysis. Some conclusions are that cost elasticities with respect to output(s) reported for Europe are significantly higher than the elasticities reported for North America. Elasticities reported for recent years are significantly lower than elasticities for earlier years.There are also indications that the elasticities are lower in studies using generalized Box-Cox or generalized Leontieff specifications of the cost function.

Suggested Citation

  • Pels, Eric & Rietveld, Piet, 2003. "Rail cost functions and scale elasticities: a meta-analysis," Serie Research Memoranda 0003, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vua:wpaper:2003-3

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. John Bitzan & Theodore Keeler, 2014. "The evolution of U.S. rail freight pricing in the post-deregulation era: revenues versus marginal costs for five commodity types," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 305-324, March.
    2. repec:eee:transa:v:120:y:2019:i:c:p:261-276 is not listed on IDEAS


    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:vua:wpaper:2003-3. 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: (R. Dam). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.