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Strategic formation and welfare effects of airline-high speed rail agreements (01a Articolo in rivista)

Avenali Alessandro, Bracaglia Valentina, D'Alfonso Tiziana, Reverberi Pierfrancesco

Policy makers encourage airline-high speed rail (HSR) cooperation to promote intermodal passenger transport. We study the strategic formation of airline-HSR partnerships (depending on sunk costs and firms’ bargaining power) and their effects on consumer surplus and social welfare. We assume that airline-HSR agreements serve to offer a bundle of domestic HSR and international air services. In a capacity purchase (CP) agreement, the airline buys train seats to sell the bundle, whereas in a joint venture (JV) agreement firms create a distinct business unit. We find that both agreements increase traffic in the network, and thereby may not reduce congestion at hub airports. We provide antitrust authorities with a simple two-tier test for the CP agreement to improve consumer surplus. Contrary to airline-HSR mergers, the JV agreement benefits consumers independent of hub congestion and mode substitution. Simulation results show that, in case of cooperation, public agencies should prefer firms to create a JV, unless the related sunk costs are far greater than the costs of the CP agreement.
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