Toll Competition Among Congested Roads

21 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2012

See all articles by Eduardo M. R. A. Engel

Eduardo M. R. A. Engel

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alexander Galetovic

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; University of Padua - CRIEP

Ronald D. Fischer

University of Chile - Center of Applied Economics (CEA)

Date Written: May 1999

Abstract

A growing number of roads are currently financed by the private sector via Build-Operate-and -Transfer (BOT) schemes. When the franchised road has no close substitute, the government must regulate tolls. Yet when there are many ways of getting from one point to another, regulation may be avoided by allowing competition between several franchise owners. This paper studies toll competition among private roads with congestion. The paper derives two main results. First, we find sufficient conditions for the existence of an equilibrium in pure strategies with strictly positive tolls. Equilibrium congestion is less than optimal, which runs counter to what is expected form price competition. While a lower toll reduces the out-of-pocket cost paid by a user, it increases the congestion cost thereby reducing the drivers' willingness to pay for using the road. Franchise holders partially internalize congestion costs when setting tolls, which softens price competition. Second, when demand and the number of roads increase at the same rate, tolls converge to the socially optimal level -- that is, in the limit equilibrium tolls are just enough to make each driver internalize the congestion externality.

Suggested Citation

Engel, Eduardo M. and Galetovic, Alexander and Fischer, Ronald D., Toll Competition Among Congested Roads (May 1999). NBER Working Paper No. t0239. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=205394

Eduardo M. Engel (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
203-432-5595 (Phone)
203-432-5779 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alexander Galetovic

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez ( email )

Peñalolén
Santiago
Chile

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

University of Padua - CRIEP ( email )

Padua
Italy

Ronald D. Fischer

University of Chile - Center of Applied Economics (CEA) ( email )

Republica 701
Casilla 2777
Santiago
Chile
+56/2/678 4055 (Phone)
+56/2/689 7895 (Fax)

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