Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy

Edited by Chris Nash

Transport economics and policy analysis is a field which has seen major advances in methodology in recent decades, covering issues such as estimating cost functions, modelling of demand, dealing with externalities, examining industry ownership and structure, pricing and investment decisions and measuring economic impacts. This Handbook contains reviews of all these methods, with an emphasis on practical applications, commissioned from an international cast of experts in the field.
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Chapter 21: Equity in transport

John Stanley and Janet Stanley


The Oxford Dictionary (Turner 1984) defines equity as ‘1. Fairness; recourse to principles of justice to correct or supplement law’. Hausman and McPherson (2006, p. 198) note that it is common for economists to use ‘equity’ this way and that, ‘The questions of justice that are important to economists concern the distribution of benefits and burdens among members of a community . . . Economic evaluation presupposes well-defined principles of justice.’ Principles of justice are particularly relevant, but frequently not recognised as such, at two important stages in the policy process: first, in identifying priorities for policy, program and/or project attention, which brings in the idea of equity in needs definition; and, second, in evaluating the relative merits of alternative possible ways of satisfying priorities, whether this evaluation is ex ante or ex post, which raises the question of equity in needs evaluation. Welfare economics has long recognised that there are a vast number of potentially efficient allocations of a society’s resources, each of which meet a set of economic efficiency requirements. Each different efficient allocation corresponds to a different distributional outcome. Economists frequently argue that their concern is only with efficiency and that distributional considerations are a matter for politicians, who can use various redistributive mechanisms to achieve desired distributional outcomes.

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