Private Infrastructure Concessions: The 1989-1994 National Highway Program in Mexico
Ramiro Tovar Landa
Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
High Price for Change, 1999
In the late 1980s Mexico, like other emerging economies, embarked upon an accelerated expansion of its toll highway system by offering concessions to the private sector for construction and operation. The government awarded Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contracts where a private entity builds the infrastructure and operate it for a specific period. Then, in theory, once the private entity has recovered its investment and obtained a certain return, the infrastructure reverts to the public sector. This model has gained wide acceptance not only to roads but in water supply and power. However agency cost in imperfectly competitive markets, like network industries, often led to opportunistic behavior by concessionaires. Income guarantees should be used as a incentive devices before demand and political risk to reward efficiency throughout project life span instead of serving as a mean of indiscriminate compensation. An alternative to such contracts is proposed when the full transfer of ownership rights to the infrastructure assets is not feasible.
Note: This is a description of the paper, and not the actual abstract.
JEL Classification: H54, H57, L91Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 3, 1998
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