The passage of the Staggers Rail Act in 1980 led brought a renaissance to the freight rail industry. In the decade following, economists documented the effects of the Act on a variety of important economic metrics including prices, costs, and productivity. Over the preceding years, and with the return of the industry to more stable footing, attention to the industry by economists faded. The lack of attention, however, has not been due to a dearth of ongoing economic and policy issues that continue to confront the industry.
In this volume, we begin to rectify this inattention. Rather than retread older analyses or provide yet another look at the consequences of Staggers, we assemble a collection of ten chapters in four sections that collectively provide fresh and up-to-date analyses of the economic issues and policy challenges the industry faces: the first section sets the context through foundational discussion of freight rail; the second section highlights the role of freight rail in an increasingly interrelated economy; the third section examines industry structure and scope in freight rail; and the fourth section assesses current regulatory challenges that confront freight rail. This book will be of great value to researchers, academics, policymakers, and students interested in the fields of freight rail economics and policy, transportation, business history, and regulatory economics.
Section I. Foundations
Section II. Railroads in an Increasingly Interrelated Economy
Section III. The Structure of the Rail Industry
Section IV. Railroads and Post-Staggers Regulation
List of Contributors