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Principal Component Analysis of the Potential for Increased Rail Competitiveness in East-Central Europe

Szabolcs Duleba () and Bálint Farkas ()
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Szabolcs Duleba: Department of Transport Technology and Economics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 1111 Budapest, Hungary
Bálint Farkas: Department of Transport Technology and Economics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 1111 Budapest, Hungary

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 15, 1-19

Abstract: Increased rail competitiveness has been the objective of many countries around the world, including member states of the EU. Although railway market liberalization has always been accompanied by high expectations of increased efficiency and competitiveness, the overall impact of such decisions can be considered controversial. This paper aims to contribute to the scientific debate by conducting a factor analysis of some East-Central European countries from the aspect of rail freight competitiveness. Since many highly correlated factors influence competitiveness, its mathematical–statistical representation and analysis is difficult due to the high number of dimensions of the factor space. Moreover, competitiveness cannot be measured directly only as a latent variable which is a feature of Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The introduced PCA, model by way of reducing the number of dimensions, can highlight the relations among the attributes and determine the most crucial issues capable of increasing rail competitiveness in the given countries and also of clustering those national railway markets. Recommendations for structural changes in national rail freight markets of the region are also supplied. Our results show that international rail competitiveness depends rather on market efficiency than on market liberalization due to the fact that the Global Competitiveness Index and Export/Import attributes did not significantly correlate with market concentration. As for the larger domestic rail freight sectors, small freight forwarders—spawned by liberalization—are shown to play a significant role in increasing competitiveness.

Keywords: sustainable transport; market liberalization; competitiveness; rail freight market; Principal Component Analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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