Christopher A. Vellturo, Ernst R. Berndt, Ann F. Friedlaender, Judy Shaw-Er Wang Chiang and Mark H. Showalter

Deregulation, Mergers, and Cost Savings in Class I U.S. Railroads, 1974-1986

In this paper we attempt to disentangle the effects of deregulation on rail costs from those directly attributable to mergers. We estimate that cost reductions obtained from mergers ranged from a high of 33% for the Burlington Northern to a low of a 3% cost increase for the CSX. However, firms not engaged in significant merger activities experienced similar cost differentials indicating that consolidation was not a prerequisite for cost savings. We conclude that although mergers did confer some benefits on the participating firms, they were not a prerequisite for railroads being able to achieve substantial cost savings.