Better Lucky Than Rich? Welfare Analysis of Automobile Licence Allocations in Beijing and Shanghai
Review of Economic Studies, 2018, vol. 85, issue 4, 2389-2428
Economists often favour market-based mechanisms over non-market based mechanisms to allocate scarce public resources on grounds of economic efficiency and revenue generation. When the usage of the resources in question generates type-dependent negative externalities, the welfare comparison can become ambiguous. Both types of allocation mechanisms are being implemented in China's major cities to distribute limited vehicle licences as a measure to combat worsening traffic congestion and air pollution. While Beijing employs non-transferable lotteries, Shanghai uses an auction system. This article empirically quantifies the welfare consequences of the two mechanisms by taking into account both allocation efficiency and automobile externalities post-allocation. Our analysis shows that different allocation mechanisms lead to dramatic differences in social welfare. Although Beijing's lottery system has a large advantage in reducing automobile externalities over auction, the advantage is offset by the significant allocative cost from misallocation. The lottery system in Beijing resulted in a social welfare loss of 30 billion Yuan (nearly $5 billion) in 2012 alone. A uniform-price auction would have generated nearly 20 billion Yuan to Beijing municipal government, more than covering all its subsidies to the local public transit system.
Keywords: Allocation efficiency; Automobile externalities; Auction; Lottery (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q58 R48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:4:p:2389-2428.
Access Statistics for this article
Review of Economic Studies is currently edited by Andrea Prat, Bruno Biais, Kjetil Storesletten and Enrique Sentana
More articles in Review of Economic Studies from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().