Books

INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCE IN EUROPE. Insights into the History of Water, Transport, and Telecommunications, Oxford University Press, January 2016 (estimated)

Edited by Youssef Cassis, Giuseppe De Luca, and Massimo Florio

Funding infrastructure has always been a challenging issue in any country and at any time, yet the topic is still largely unexplored. The social returns of investment in water, roads, railways, or more recently telegraph or communication satellites are often apparent in the long run, but this distant horizon poses special problems to governments and investors. This volume provides a broad overview of the main financing solutions implemented in Europe to support infrastructures from the fall of the Roman Empire up to the end of the 20th century.

The book explores the diverse historical paths pursued in order to solve the problem of infrastructure finance in various European countries, and draws upon the findings of an international and interdisciplinary research project. It brings together case studies by economic historians, economists, and engineers, and the clear taxonomy guides the reader through the financing solutions that have been developed to fund infrastructure over almost three thousand years. The volume is organized into four parts; after an introductory chapter by the editors, Part One offers ‘horizontal’ contributions that cover the history of European infrastructure finance. Parts Two, Three, and Four each focus on a single sector, namely water, transport, and telecommunications. The findings show how history can inform thinking on contemporary infrastructure problems.

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THE ECONOMICS OF INFRASTRUCTURE PROVISIONING. The Changing Role of the State, the MIT Press, December 2015

Edited by Arnold Picot, Massimo Florio, Nico Grove and Johann Kranz     

Infrastructures—tangible, intangible, and institutional public facilities, from bridges to health care—are a vital precondition for economic and societal wellbeing. There has been an increasing awareness that we cannot rely on market forces for infrastructure investment and maintenance. In this volume, experts from Europe, North and South America, and Asia examine the complexities of financing, installing, implementing, and regulating public infrastructures. Their contributions span a range of methodological approaches, including historical and empirical research, analytical models, theoretical analysis, and sector and regional case studies; they consider the economics of infrastructure provisioning by government, through private-public partnerships, and privatization arrangements.

The book first treats general investment, growth, and policy issues, and then offers sector-specific analyses of transportation, energy, telecommunications, and water infrastructures. The chapters cover topics that include the evolution of historical infrastructure; the relationships between the state and private finance in funding and financing infrastructure; and the relevance of infrastructure for economic growth.

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guide

GUIDE TO COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF INVESTMENT PROJECTS. Economic appraisal tool for Cohesion Policy 2014-2020, European Commission, DG Regio, 2014.

The Guide has been prepared by the Commission with the support of CSIL experts and JASPER.  The scientific coordination of the Guide was provided by a team of experts coordinated by Massimo Florio. The team included professors Per-Olov Johansson (Stockholm School of Economics), Susana Mourato (London School of Economics & Political Science), Arnold Picot (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich), and Mateu Turró (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya).

The Guide is now obligatory for all major projects submitted to ESIF 2014-2020. It builds on vast experience gained in the preparation and appraisal of major projects in the programming period 2007-2013, and aims to provide practical recommendations and case studies for the authorities involved in major projects and for all consultants preparing the project documentation.

For more info, please visit http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index_en.cfm

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Copertina AWE

APPLIED WELFARE ECONOMICS. Cost-Benefit Analysis of projects and policies, Routledge, February 2014

Massimo Florio

What is the effect of a new infrastructure on the well-being of a local community? Is a tax reform desirable? Does the privatization of a telecommunication provider increase social welfare? To answer these questions governments and their policy advisors should have in mind an operative definition of social welfare, and cannot rely on simple official statistics, such as GDP. The price we observe are often misleading as welfare signals, and costs and benefits for the society should be based on ‘shadow prices’, revealing the social opportunity costs of goods and of changes of the world. This book explains how to apply these welfare economics ideas to the real world.

After a theoretical discussion of the concept of social welfare, a critical analysis of the traditional doctrine of welfare economics embodied in the Two Fundamental Theorems, and a presentation of social cost-benefit analysis, the book introduce the readers to an applied framework. This includes the empirical estimation of shadow prices of goods, of the social cost of labour and capital, the assessment of risk. This book also includes the state of the art of international experience with CBA, including ex-post evaluation of major projects, economic rates of return in different sectors, and a case study on privatisation, is presented.

This book offers a unique and original blend of theory, empirics and experience. The theoretical discussion clarifies why shadow prices are not virtual market equilibrium prices, as they arise as the solution of a planning problem, often with governments and economic agents constrained in their information and powers. The empirical chapters show how to compute proxies of the shadow prices in simple ways. The experience chapters draw from first hand research, gained by the Author and his collaborators over many years of advisory work for the European Commission and other international and national institutions.

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Book reviews

Network Industries_cover

NETWORK INDUSTRIES AND SOCIAL WELFARE. The Experiment that Reshuffled European Utilities, Oxford University Press, 2013 

Massimo Florio

A dramatic change of ownership, regulation, and organisation of essential public services, such as electricity, gas and telecommunications, has taken place in Europe in less than twenty years. This was not the outcome of spontaneous adaptation, but an entirely top-down policy experiment, mainly conceived in London during Mrs Thatcher’s years, then pursued in Brussels – the ‘capital’ of the European Union – and imposed to more or less reluctant players by laws, directives, regulations, administrative and judicial decisions. The European reform paradigm revolves around three pillars: privatisation, unbundling, and regulated liberalisation of network industries. These industries, despite the reforms, are still special, as they include core natural monopoly components (the electricity grid, the gas pipelines, the telephony networks, etc), are often based on complex system integration of different segments (for example of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and retail supply)  and  offer services that have critical social and economic importance, from heating to internet. It seems a good time to ask plain questions: Are the consumers in Europe happier after the reforms than before? Do they pay less? Do they get a better quality for the services? This book tries to answer these questions. After an overview of the main facts, of the conceptual issues, and of the empirical evidence particularly on prices for households, their perceptions of quality of service, and of issues of utility poverty and social affordability, the book suggests that the benefits of the reforms for the consumers have often been limited and that  governments should reconsider their overconfidence in regulated market mechanisms in network industries.

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Book reviews

 
PUBLIC INVESTMENT, GROWTH AND FISCAL CONSTRAINTS: CHALLENGES FOR THE EU NEW MEMBER STATES, Edward Elgar, 2011

Massimo Florio ed.

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GUIDE TO COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF INVESTMENT PROJECTS. Structural Funds, Cohesion Fund and Instrument for Pre-Accession, European Commission, DG Regional Policy, 2008.

Massimo Florio et al.

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COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS AND INCENTIVES IN EVALUATION. The Structural Funds of European Union, Edward Elgar, 2007

Massimo Florio ed.

This book provides an authoritative contribution to applied cost–benefit analysis (CBA) and other evaluation methods in the context of the regional policy of the European Union. Through the use of Structural Funds and other financial and regulatory mechanisms, the EU will help to promote thousands of infrastructure projects in the next decade. CBA will be a key ingredient in the investment decision process and the authors provide important insights from their international experiences in project appraisal and evaluation and point to some valuable lessons to be learnt for the future.

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Book reviews

 

THE GREAT DIVESTITURE. Evaluating the welfare impact of the British privatisations 1979-1997, The Mit Press, 2004

Massimo Florio

The privatization carried out under the Thatcher and Major governments in Britain has been widely (although not universally) considered a success, and has greatly influenced the privatization of state industries in the transition economies of Eastern Europe. Massimo Florio’s systematic analysis is the first comprehensive treatment of the overall welfare impact of this broad national policy of divestiture. Using the tools of social cost-benefit analysis, Florio assesses the effect of privatization on consumers, taxpayers, firms, shareholders, and workers. His conclusion may be surprising to some; his findings suggest that the changeover to private ownership per se had little effect on long-term trends in prices and productivity in Britain and contributed to regressive redistribution.

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Book Reviews

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