McDonough School of Business
McDonough School of Business
News Story

Center for Business and Public Policy Holds Colloquium on Freight Rail Industry

The Staggers Rail Act of 1980 largely, but not completely, deregulated the U.S. freight rail industry. More than 30 years of hindsight affords a rich opportunity for fresh economic analysis of both the economics and the regulation of the railroad industry.

On Friday, June 10, the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosted the Second Annual Research Colloquium on the Economics and Regulation of the Freight Rail Industry. The colloquium was launched at the center in June 2015 to promote new economic research and extend understanding of the freight rail industry. The colloquium assembles academics, rail industry practitioners and specialists, industry leaders, government officials, and policymakers, and fosters open and well-informed discussion around key economic and policy issues of the freight rail industry.

The 2016 colloquium featured keynote remarks by the Honorable Daniel R. Elliott III, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board.

John Mayo, professor of economics, business, and public policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and executive director of the center, provided an overview of the current economic landscape of the industry. The day unfolded with 11 academic research presentations along with opportunity for questions and discussion. The emerging research explored such topics as changing work-rules and managerial flexibility; pricing freight transport to account for external costs; the political economy of railroad costing; the evolution of contracting; the demand for rail and truck; and independent voting trusts in U.S. rail mergers.

The colloquium also debuted the interactive Rail Compendium, an actively growing database of the economics-based research literature.

A full list of colloquium presenters and their research, links to papers and presentation slides, and the full-day video will be assembled in a policy event summary, available on the main event page.

About the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy is an academic, non-partisan, research center whose mission is to engage scholars, business people, and policymakers in relevant inquiries and dialogue to inform key business, economic, and public policy issues confronting American and international businesses today. Established in 2002 at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, the center conducts empirical economic analysis, contributes practical and innovative recommendations, and encourages thoughtful discussion on a range of developing issues, pending legislation, and upcoming regulatory change. Learn more at