The Economics of Railroad “Captive Shipper” Legislation

Russell Pittman, EAG 10-1 January 2010


Recent rate increases by U.S. freight railroads have refocused attention on regulation, deregulation, and regulatory reforms in the railroad industry. Legislation introduced into Congress would render a variety of railroad behavior newly subject to the jurisdiction of the antitrust statutes, with potential enforcement by the Antitrust Division and the FTC and through lawsuits brought by state attorneys general or private parties. This paper considers the economic issues raised by legislation and the likely impacts on competition and welfare.

October 2009 version

JEL codes: K21, K23, L41, L42, L43, L51, L92

Keywords: freight railroads, captive shippers, antitrust, regulation

Updated July 24, 2015

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