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Transport Economics & Policy: A Practical Analysis of by John Hibbs

By John Hibbs

Reliable administration and making plans within the shipping region calls for an intensive knowing of easy monetary rules and a capability to scrupulously research the sphere as an entire.

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We shall return to this subject in Chapter 5. THE CONSEQUENCES OF REGULATION Transport is a fail-dangerous industry; mechanical or operational failure is always more likely to cause injury and even death than the activities of manufacturing or the retail trade. It may also be described as opaque, which means that it is normally impossible even for a qualified engineer to be satisfied that a bus or train is safe to board. Trusting in a transport firm’s reputation may not be enough to provide peace of mind, although it plays a large part in the choice of contractor for the movement of goods and for distribution; but you do not get any choice at the railway station or the bus stop, or when hailing a taxi.

Rent-seeking can be found at every level in a business organization. While the theory of the firm assumes that all pressure will be upon achieving a satisfactory return from the assets, together with profits arising from innovation and constructive marketing, there is as we have seen a preference for a quiet life as against the effort needed to succeed in the market. This may lead to cartels and agreements not to compete, which have always been prevalent in merchant shipping, as well as in the bus industry.

Proponents of the system argue that it is a form of market competition, using the term ‘competing for the market’ instead of ‘competing in the market’. This makes no sense in economics, for the tendering companies are in fact competing for a monopoly, even though it may be controlled by a ‘competent authority’. There is no way in which such franchises can be shown to tend to allocative efficiency, any more than is possible with any system that involves intervention in the market. 40 The Economic Issues PEOPLE IN BUSINESS Economists sometimes use the term ‘rent’ to refer to financial returns received by the firm over and above those that should cover the opportunity cost of the resources that it owns.

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