French Nobel Prize winner slates French rail reform

Lord Berkeley

President Hollande of France has welcomed the award of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Economics to Jean Tirole as being ‘good for France.’   French economist Jean Tirole’s award was for his work on the financial crises, oligopolies and network industries.  He is one of the most influential economists of our time; his publications on industrial organisation has clarified the economic policy issues for various sectors on which he had worked, notably the railways.

However, Tirole said in an interview in Sweden after the award on 10 December that France has the worst of all rail systems: ‘competition in theory and monopolisation in practice.’

France is in the process of restructuring its railways. The independent regulator ARAF has added to these comments by expressing a negative opinion on the reform in terms of the risks of non-transparent financial flows between the operator SNCF and the infrastructure manager which give SNCF an unfair advantage over any competition.

Perhaps President Hollande will take Jean Tirole’s advice on restructuring the railways in France, to bring in competition and get rid of the rail monopoly in practice !

Tony Berkeley is chairman of the UK Rail Freight Group and a Board Member of the European Rail Freight Association; these opinions are his own.

2 comments for “French Nobel Prize winner slates French rail reform

  1. maude elwes
    17/12/2014 at 11:11 am

    This guy must be on the Corporation payroll and a shyster. French railways don’t come close to being as bad as ours. What a load of hogwash that is. And he should try the US trains if he wants bad. They just about come up to Mumbai on a good day.

    Of course the best are the Swiss and German. But that is their forte.

  2. MilesJSD
    17/12/2014 at 6:39 pm

    I don’t know what the longest-term sustain-worthiness [moral & ecolonomic-sustainability] of Railways is – such a huge amount of metal and energy-burning, to carry most largely only the super-paid upper and middle classes around the world as well as to-and-fro workplaces;

    but I do know that the “economic” or “business” term “competition” needs to be always up-front
    and bottom-line
    by at least either “constructive” or “destructive”.

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