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Bumpy Designs: Impact of Privacy and Technology Costs on Support for Road Mileage User Fees

40 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2014  

Denvil Duncan

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Venkata Nadella

Indiana University - School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Ashley Bowers

Indiana University

Stacey Giroux

Indiana University

John Graham

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

Date Written: January 17, 2014

Abstract

The mileage user-fee is a promising alternative to the fuel tax but public opposition is a barrier to implementation. We use a large nationally representative survey with an embedded experimental design to determine the extent to which key design features (technology costs and perceived invasion of privacy) influence public opinion regarding the adoption of mileage user-fees. Our findings confirm widespread opposition of mileage user-fees; the ratio of opponents to supporters is about four to one. The embedded experiment provides evidence that public opposition can be attenuated somewhat through two design features: insulating motorists from a new one-time cost for GPS technology to measure mileage, and safeguards that eliminate or minimize perceived invasions of privacy. Future research should explore additional design innovations that can minimize public opposition to this promising source of public revenue.

Keywords: mileage road user-fee, fuel tax, highway financing, public opinion

JEL Classification: H2, H4, H54, R4

Suggested Citation

Duncan, Denvil and Nadella, Venkata and Bowers, Ashley and Giroux, Stacey and Graham, John, Bumpy Designs: Impact of Privacy and Technology Costs on Support for Road Mileage User Fees (January 17, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2391357 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2391357

Denvil Duncan (Contact Author)

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Venkata Nadella

Indiana University - School of Public and Environmental Affairs ( email )

1315 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Ashley Bowers

Indiana University ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Stacey Giroux

Indiana University ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

John Graham

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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