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The influence of ownership on the cost of bus service provision in Switzerland - an empirical illustration

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In deregulated transport markets, a firm's ownership status and management system represent an important issue. Property right theory suggests that productivity and performance are higher in the private than in the public sector. In Switzerland, providers of bus transportation are traditionally corporations, though a large part of their equity shares are still held by the public sector (federal government, cantons, municipalities). This paper examines the potential impact of ownership on the cost of bus service provision for a sample of private, public and mixed bus companies in Switzerland. The estimation of a translog cost model has been considered for 34 bus transit companies observed over 5 years (1991-1995). The results only partially confirm that if the private sector holds shares in the company's capital, efficiency is enhanced. In addition, measures of economies of scale and density are derived and discussed within the actual public transport policy.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Economics, University of Lugano, Switzerland and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Z├╝rich, Switzerland

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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