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Does expanding regional train service reduce air pollution?


Lalive, Rafael; Luechinger, Simon; Schmutzler, Armin (2018). Does expanding regional train service reduce air pollution? Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 92:744-764.

Abstract

We assess how regional rail service affects air pollution in Germany, where rail service is procured in auctions or negotiations. We argue that the procurement mode is plausibly exogenous, and show that auctions deliver stronger rail service growth than negotiations. Instrumenting rail service growth with procurement mode, we find that increasing rail service by 10% reduces carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide pollution by around 1% and 2%, respectively. Sulfur dioxide and ozone, pollutants with no clear link to rail, are not affected. Expanding rail service reduces car and motorcycle use, especially on leisure and shopping trips. The effects of railway services on car and motorcycle use and on air pollution build up over time. Lives saved by reducing pollution via rail service growth are worth substantially more than the required subsidies.

Abstract

We assess how regional rail service affects air pollution in Germany, where rail service is procured in auctions or negotiations. We argue that the procurement mode is plausibly exogenous, and show that auctions deliver stronger rail service growth than negotiations. Instrumenting rail service growth with procurement mode, we find that increasing rail service by 10% reduces carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide pollution by around 1% and 2%, respectively. Sulfur dioxide and ozone, pollutants with no clear link to rail, are not affected. Expanding rail service reduces car and motorcycle use, especially on leisure and shopping trips. The effects of railway services on car and motorcycle use and on air pollution build up over time. Lives saved by reducing pollution via rail service growth are worth substantially more than the required subsidies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Railways, pollution, subsidies, transportation, environmental policy
Language:English
Date:1 November 2018
Deposited On:09 Feb 2018 10:36
Last Modified:01 Sep 2020 00:03
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0095-0696
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2017.09.003

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