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Market structure of urban solid waste. Different models, different results

  • Simões, Pedro
  • Carvalho, Pedro
  • Marques, Rui Cunha
The urban waste services in Portugal have been, historically, provided together with other services, such as water services. Despite the lack of discussion on this subject in the literature, some questions have been raised about the gains, in terms of efficiency, of this policy. Following a recent and robust partial nonparametric frontier model, based on order‐α, we intend to evaluate the presence of economies of scope and scale in the Portuguese waste sector. The results show the absence of economies of scope between waste and water (and wastewater) services. In addition, we identify the presence of economies of scale in smaller municipalities, suggesting that cooperation (or amalgamation) between these municipalities could lead to cost savings. These outcomes might be useful for policy and decisionmakers in further reforms.

Endogenous determinants for renegotiating concessions: evidence from local infrastuctures

  • Cruz, Carlos Oliveira
  • Marques, Rui Cunha
There is a global trend for local governments to engage in public‐private partnerships (PPPs) to provide infrastructures and public services. Light rails, water systems, waste management, schools, sport centres, social housing, are just a few examples of sectors where the private sector is becoming more actively involved with local authorities. Most of these engagements are done through mixed companies and contractual concessions. Both suffer from a major shortcoming – renegotiations. Contracts are often renegotiated within few years after signature, and some evidence show that the results might not protect the public interest. This paper tries to understand how and why renegotiations of local concessions happen by looking at the specific characteristics of contracts (endogenous determinants). To illustrate the discussion, a case study from a light rail system is analysed, exemplifying the effect of a contractual renegotiation. The authors argue that contractual renegotiation can be useful in decreasing contract incompleteness, but a poor design of these clauses can allow for opportunistic behaviour by concessionaires.

Local Public-Services Provision under Public Private Partnershps : Contractual Design and Contracting Parties Incentives

  • Athias, Laure
This paper studies the incentives of the private provider, but also of the public authority, under various contractual forms of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). A critical aspect of any PPP contract is the allocation of demand risk between the public authority and the private provider. I show that contracts in which the private provider bears demand risk motivate more the public authority from responding to customer needs. This is due to the fact that consumers are empowered when the private provider bears demand risk, i.e. they have the possibility to oust the private provider in case of non-satisfaction with the service provision, which provides procuring authorities with more credibility in side-trading and then more incentives to be responsive. However, contracts in which the private provider does not bear demand risk motivate more the private provider from investing in cost-reducing efforts. I highlight then a tradeoff in the allocation of demand risk between productive and allocative efficiency. The striking policy implication of this paper would be that the current trend towards a greater resort to contracts where private providers bear little or no demand risk may not be optimal. I apply these results to understanding three famous case studies.

Does the mixed company model provide value for money? An analysis of different local infrastucture sectors

  • Cruz, Nuno Ferreira da
  • Marques, Rui Cunha
This paper looks at the use of institutionalised public‐private partnership (PPP) arrangements by local governments for the delivery of different types of infrastructure. It starts by analysing the mixed company model from a theoretical point of view, in particular the potential for internal regulation and the achievement of relational agreements. Then, after discussing the practicalities of crafting this type of governance structure, the examination of four Portuguese case‐studies is provided. The empirical evidence on mixed companies operating in the water, waste, transportation and education sectors shows that the extreme complexity involved in the whole life‐cycle management of these companies, usually leads to poor outcomes from a social welfare point of view.

Entry Under Quality Uncertainty: Lessons from Supermarkets

  • Gómez-Lobo, Andrés
  • Jiménez González, Juan Luis
  • Perdiguero, Jordi
Entry barriers in the retail sector are a frequent policy regulation in some countries. We evaluate the price effects of the entry of LIDL, a German hard discount supermarket chain, in the Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain) in 2010 and only after winning a long legal battle. We first make a theoretical analysis of how an incumbent reacts when entry by a new operator is announced but does not know the level of quality the entrant will offer. We also analyze the incumbent’s pricing strategy after entry has materialized and uncertainty disappears. Secondly, we use a database obtained from a special survey for a representative sample of supermarkets in Gran Canaria to estimate how incumbents reacted to entry in the products sold and not sold by LIDL. We show that there is some evidence that prices for all goods prior to entry were initially lower in supermarkets close to the future entrant compared to supermarkets further away. However, after entry incumbents’ prices for products not sold by the entrant actually rose near the entrant’s new stores, compared to a suitable control group of supermarkets farther away.

The Impact of Economic Liberalisation on Spanish Public Administration: Some Alarming Steps Backward

  • Padrós, Carlos
Economic liberalisation has an impact on the economic activity of States and on the balance between government intervention and free markets. The old national service monopolies now have to be reconciled with basic EU economic freedoms. The introduction of new regulatory techniques requires a different kind of administrative body to govern utilities. National Regulatory Agencies have been set up to guarantee that regulation is exercised on an equal basis, without discrimination in favour of the incumbents from the monopoly era. The results and achievements of liberalisation are to some extent dependent on the administrative context. In many cases, European norms stipulate particular procedures for the organisation of public administration. States are no longer free to implement EU legislation in accordance with the paradigm of institutional autonomy: independent regulatory authorities are imposed as a cornerstone of liberalisation. In this paper we analyse three recent examples in which Spain allegedly failed to fulfil its obligations as a EU member State, and contend that Spain’s current legislative reforms are at odds with European requirements.

Does High-Speed Rail Generate Spillovers on Local Budgets

  • Hernández Vieira, Aday
  • Jiménez González, Juan Luis
Many developed countries have boosted investment into High-Speed Rail (HSR). This infrastructure is costly and requires high investment during the construction and operation periods, which is mainly financed with public funds. This economic effort is seldom set off, which leads to subsidies with the money collected from public debt growth or tax pressure increases. The question that immediately emerges is whether the entrance of this new infrastructure generates spillovers at the local level. In this paper, we answer this question by using local data on economic activity, unicipalities’ characteristics and local public budgets in Spain for the past decade (2001–2010). To approach to this problem, we use GIS tools and build a database to estimate the impact by considering difference-in-difference analysis. Our estimations yield a general conclusion: when HSR comes to town, both local revenues and the local fiscal gap improve by 10% and 16%, respectively. These improvements primarily affect municipalities located within 5 km of an HSR station.

The efficiency of the European Social Fund and fiscal decentralization in Spain

  • González Alegre, Juan
We estimate the impact of public expenditure on Active Labor Market Policies (ALMPs) and the European Social Fund (ESF) on the employment rate using panel data from 28 European countries (1985-2011) and an alternative sample of the 17 Spanish regions (1989-2010). The estimations take into account the endogeneity of explanatory variables, the dynamic behavior of their relationship and, for the set of regional data, the spatial dependence among regions. Results support the hypothesis that expenditure in ALMPs and ESF transfers are more beneficial for employment than aggregate public expenditure. In addition, countries with larger ESF transfers observe a larger efficiency of their ALMPs and employment tends to rise as Spanish regions gain fiscal autonomy.

Privatization policies by national and regional governments

  • Martínez-Sánchez, Francisco
In order to analyze the privatization policies undertaken by the national and regional governments, we consider a horizontal differentiation model with price competition in which a country consists of two regions of different sizes. We show that public-sector intervention by either the national or regional government is essential for achieving the social optimum, because a private duopoly does not achieve the social optimum. However, not all public interventions in firms are better than the private duopoly. On the other hand, the preferences of consumers and firms about privatization policy are completely opposite. Finally, the privatization policies of regional governments are completely opposite from one region to the other, and do not coincide with that of the national government. Overall, this paper shows that the relative size of regions is an important feature in the design of the privatization policies implemented by national and regional governments.

Comparing Air Transport Policies for Small Remote Communities: U.S.A., Canada, Portugal, Spain and Brazil

  • Metrass-Mendes, Alda
  • De Neufville, Richard
  • Costa, Álvaro
  • Oliveira, Alessando V.M.
This paper examines the regulatory status in the aviation industry, and the efforts of the U.S.A., Canada, Portugal, Spain and Brazil to adopt air transport policies and mechanisms to provide their populations with universal accessibility. A systems engineering grounded theory approach and a cross-national case-based comparison framework are used to look at the impacts of different policies and mechanisms on the air service to small remote communities. It is found that the success of a policy design critically depends on five factors: 1) the joint support of infrastructure investment, maintenance and operations and air services; 2) governments’ ability to promote competition and protect passengers in markets where competition does not exist; 3) the operating carrier’s choice of business model, technology for thin routes, and network; 4) political interest; and 5) local participation. Based on the evaluation of policy designs and assessment of policies in five substantially different national contexts and interviews with several stakeholders, the authors provide insights and suggest recommendations in small remote air transport policy for policy makers and practitioners. The recommendations are applicable to other countries reforming their aviation industries.

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