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Pricing Principles, Efficiency Concepts and Incentive Models in Swedish Transport Infrastructure Policy
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3878-0930
2013 (English)In: VTI Transportforum 2013 – Granskade artiklar: VTI rapport 787 / [ed] Göran Blomqvist, Linköping: VTI , 2013, 22-35 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this article the shift of the Swedish goverment´s policies for the financing through taxation, fees and prices paid for the use of roads and railroads from 1945 until the 2010s is discussed. It is argued that the shift from a full-cost coverage principle to a short term social marginal cost principle can be seen in the light of the controversy between a Coasean and a Pigovian perspective.

The Coasean perspective furthers an institutional view where organizations and dynamic development matters while the Pigovian perspective furthers a welfare economic equilibrium view where organizations are less focused. It is argued that the shift in policies coincided with less interest and focus on the organizational perspective and incentives for organizational efficiency, which can be seen in the public documents from the time.

The government seems to have been guided by a mar ket failure stance since the 1970s which has motivated growing intervention, following a mar ket-economy stance in the first 25 years after the nationalization of roads and railroads. A current opening in transport infrastructure policies with more room for alternative financing, user charges and fees might, even though also consistent with short term social marginal cost principles, signal a revival of a perspective more in line with the Coasean view.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: VTI , 2013. 22-35 p.
Keyword [en]
Pricing principles, marginal cost, full cost
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-123580OAI: diva2:628045
Transportforum 2013

QC 20130614

Available from: 2013-06-13 Created: 2013-06-12 Last updated: 2013-06-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Government's Role for Transport Infrastructure: Theoretical Approaches and Historical Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Government's Role for Transport Infrastructure: Theoretical Approaches and Historical Development
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyzes and discusses the development of the Swedish government’s role as owner and financier of roads and railroads from the 1930s until the 2010s. The influence on the development of the government’s role from two main theoretical paradigms is discussed and analyzed. These are:

a) neoclassical and welfare economics; and

b) new institutional economic theory with an organizational focus.

The thesis shows that there has been a shift from an institutional view on the organization and financing of the road and railroad systems following the nationalization in the 1930-40s, to a view more based on welfare economics from the 1970s.

Technology, economics and politics are three important factors influencing the development of the transport systems and of the government’s role. In the thesis these factors are covered in a co-evolutionary approach applied for analysis of the historical development. This approach connects to a dynamic view on organizations and firms in institutional theory.

Over time there have been shifts in the strength of the factors (technology, economics and politics) influencing the development. There have also been controversies around financing principles and contradictions between different elements in the policies actually pursued over time. One such controversy has been whether to aim for full cost coverage or for marginal cost coverage.

The thesis discusses how planning and coordination in the transport infrastructure sector can come about. A centralized public sector planner mode is contrasted towards a private sector spontaneous ordering mode. It is argued that it is difficult for a centralized planner to collect the necessary information and transform it into deepened knowledge in order to coordinate. A decentralized spontaneous ordering mode might though allow for including the necessary knowledge.

The thesis illustrates a number of trade-offs that must be taken into consideration when discussing a possible future development for transport infrastructure and the government’s role. The following aspects are discussed:

- the balance between public and private as the basic organizing principle;

- the balance between government and regions/local governments when it comes to

- the geographical division of responsibility; and

- the balance between the national and EU levels for strategic transport infrastructure planning and coordination, also in relation to spontaneous coordination and centralized planning.

The government has acted reluctantly and pragmatically and gradually developed its ownership role and the general policies in the sector. The government’s emphasis on market failure as its basic assumption has become stronger over time.

The thesis brings a deepened understanding of the long-term development of the government’s ownership and policy formation in the transport infrastructure sector in relation to the two theoretical paradigms. This combination of a historical view with the theoretical economic background gives new insights into the past and future of the government’s role for transport infrastructure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. 107 p.
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2013:05
Government, Market, Planning, Transport Infrastructure
National Category
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-123626 (URN)978-91-7501-765-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-08-26, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)

QC 20130614

Available from: 2013-06-14 Created: 2013-06-13 Last updated: 2013-06-14Bibliographically approved

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