Second Annual Research Colloquium on the Economics and Regulation of the Freight Rail Industry

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The Staggers Rail Act of 1980 largely but not completely deregulated the U.S. freight rail industry. More than thirty years of hindsight affords a rich opportunity for fresh economic analysis of both the economics and the regulation of the railroad industry.

On Friday, June 10, the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosted the Second Annual Research Colloquium on the Economics and Regulation of the Freight Rail Industry. The Colloquium was launched at the Center in June 2015 to promote new economic research and extend understanding of the freight rail industry.  The Colloquium assembles academics, rail industry practitioners and specialists, industry leaders, government officials, and policymakers and fosters open and well-informed discussion around key economic and policy issues of the freight rail industry.

The 2016 Colloquium featured keynote remarks by the Honorable Daniel R. Elliott III, Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board.

John Mayo, professor of economics, business, and public policy in Georgetown University‚Äôs McDonough School of Business and executive director of the Center provided an overview of the current economic landscape of the industry.  The day unfolded with eleven academic research presentations along with opportunity for questions and discussion. The emerging research explored such topics as changing work-rules and managerial flexibility; pricing freight transport to account for external costs; the political economy of railroad costing; the evolution of contracting; the demand for rail and truck; and independent voting trusts in U.S. rail mergers.

The Colloquium also debuted the interactive Rail Compendium, an actively growing database of the economics-based research literature.

A full list of Colloquium presenters and their research, links to papers and presentation slides, and the full-day video is assembled in a Policy Event Summary, available on the main event page.