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The Economics and Regulation of the Freight Rail Industry, A Research Colloquium

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Date: 
Friday, June 5, 2015 -
8:00am to 5:00pm
Location: 
Rafik B. Hariri Building: Fisher Colloquium, McDonough School of Business, 37th & O Streets NW, Washington, DC 20057

This event looked at the nearly 35 years that have passed since the enactment of the Staggers Act, which largely but not completely deregulated the U.S. freight rail industry. This passage of time created the opportunity for fresh economic analysis of both the economics and regulation of the railroad industry, including addressing questions such as: What economic factors have promoted and led to the economic turnaround of the industry? Do these factors continue to be relevant and operative in the 21st century? What policy measures have promoted or impeded the ability of the rail industry to contribute to economic welfare? The slides and, when applicable, papers used to explore these questions and more are attached below. Policy Event Summary (including speaker biographies and program information)

Welcoming Remarks

  • John Mayo, Professor of Economics, Business, and Public Policy, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and Executive Director, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy

“The Role of Economic Theory in the ‘Deregulated’ Rail Industry” Slides

  • Robert Willig, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs

“Regulation in a 'Deregulated' Industry: Oversight of Railroads in the Post-Staggers Era” Slides Paper

  • John Mayo, Professor of Economics, Business, and Public Policy, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
  • David Sappington, Eminent Scholar and Director, Robert F. Lanzillotti Public Policy Research Center, University of Florida

“This Time is Different(?): Lessons from Unbundled Access in Telecommunications Applied to Railroad Regulation” Slides

  • Randolph Beard, Professor of Economics, Auburn University
  • Jeffrey Macher, Professor, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and Academic Director, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
  • Chris Vickers, Assistant Professor of Economics, Auburn University

“Optimal Pricing of Traffic Rights” Slides Paper

  • Kenneth Boyer, Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

Keynote Address

  • Darius Gaskins, Jr., Partner, Brigadier Consulting Group

“Understanding Railroad Investment Behaviors, Regulatory Processes, and Related Implications for Efficient Regulatory Oversight” Slides Paper

  • Mark Burton, Research Associate Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Charlie Sims, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“Railroad Costing and Regulation: The Uniform Rail Costing System” Slides

  • Wes Wilson, Professor of Economics, University of Oregon
  • Frank Wolak, Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies, Stanford University

“The Impact of Deregulation on Firm Performance: Evidence from the Rail Industry” Slides Paper

  • Lee Pinkowitz, Associate Professor, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
  • Rohan Williamson, Professor, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

“Determinants of Railroad Safety” Slides 

  • Jerry Ellig, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
  • Patrick McLaughlin, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Closing Remarks

  • John Mayo