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The Regulatory Determinants of Railroad Safety

Jerry Ellig () and Patrick McLaughlin ()
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Jerry Ellig: Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Review of Industrial Organization, 2016, vol. 49, issue 2, No 10, 398 pages

Abstract: Abstract The dramatic improvement in railroad safety since the 1970s has been accompanied by a substantial increase in safety regulation and a substantial reduction in economic regulation after 1980. We assess the effects of both regulatory changes on railroad safety with the use of RegData: a new data set that was developed by one of the authors that measures the amount of regulation that is imposed by specific regulatory agencies on specific industries. We find that partial economic deregulation is associated with improved safety. Safety regulation was most closely associated with improved railroad safety during the period when economic regulation curtailed railroads’ incentives to operate safely.

Keywords: Railroad; Railroad safety; Regulation; Safety regulation; Staggers Act; RegData (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D61 K23 L51 L92 R41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1007/s11151-016-9525-0

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