One of the primary purposes of the Staggers Act of 1980 was to increase the profitability of the railroad industry. The paper examines the industry’s financial performance from 1963 to 2013 and provides evidence that railroads outperformed most other industries from pre- to post-deregulation using accounting-based measures. However, using a market-based measure, the railroad industry underperforms two-thirds of industries. Additionally, the post-Staggers accounting performance improvements were not at the expense of firms from commodity groups that are reliant on rail transportation. Importantly, there exists considerable skewness and heterogeneity across measures, which affects the effectiveness of inferences that are based on the mean of the distribution to reflect economic reality.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: May 3, 2016
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