The Regulatory Determinants of Railroad Safety

44 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2016  

Jerry Ellig

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Date Written: May 3, 2016

Abstract

The dramatic improvement in railroad safety since the 1970s has been accompanied by a substantial increase in safety regulation and a substantial reduction in economic regulation after 1980. We assess the effects of both regulatory changes on railroad safety with the use of RegData: a new data set that was developed by one of the authors that measures the amount of regulation that is imposed by specific regulatory agencies on specific industries. We find that partial economic deregulation is associated with improved safety. Safety regulation was most closely associated with improved railroad safety during the period when economic regulation curtailed railroads’ incentives to operate safely.

Keywords: railroad, railroad safety, regulation, safety regulation, Staggers Act, RegData

JEL Classification: D61, K23, L51, L92, R41

Suggested Citation

Ellig, Jerry and McLaughlin, Patrick A., The Regulatory Determinants of Railroad Safety (May 3, 2016). Review of Industrial Organization, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2869148

Jerry Ellig

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd
4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201-4433
United States
703-375-9410 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mercatus.org/jerry-ellig

Patrick A. McLaughlin (Contact Author)

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
(703) 993-9670 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.patrickamclaughlin.com

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