A political economy model of road pricingA political economy model of road pricing
Faculty of Applied Economics
2012New York, N.Y., 2012
Journal of urban economics. - New York, N.Y.
71(2012):1, p. 79-92
University of Antwerp
In this paper, we use a simple majority voting model to study the introduction of urban congestion tolls. The model allows for different types of uncertainty and considers different uses of the toll revenues. The following results are obtained. First, we show that individual uncertainty with respect to modal substitution costs may imply that a majority votes against road pricing ex ante, although a majority would have been in favor after its introduction ex post. Moreover, if a majority is against road pricing ex ante, there will also be no majority for organizing an experiment that would take away the individual uncertainty. Second, political uncertainty with respect to the use of the revenues corroborates the finding that ex ante more voters will be against the introduction of tolls. Third, both types of uncertainty suggest that fewer voters are against road pricing when toll revenues are used to subsidize public transport than when they are redistributed to all voters. Importantly, the results of this paper are consistent with a number of recent empirical observations on efforts to introduce road pricing, including the systematic rejection of road pricing in referenda, the more favorable attitudes towards road pricing after than before its introduction, and tying the toll revenues to support public transport.