Jim and Matthew Scarpati Honorary Applied Economics Conference

Thanks to the generosity of Lynn Scarpati, the Economics Department is proud to inaugurate this annual conference in the Spring 2024 semester.

All undergraduate economics majors and all MA/MS students in Economics are eligible and are invited to participate. Non-economics majors with sufficient economics background are also eligible.

Participating students will present their papers in a conference format at the end of the Spring semester. The best and runner up papers, selected by a faculty panel of judges, will be awarded $ 3,000 and $ 2,000, respectively.

To participate in the conference:

1. ALL STUDENTS must contact professor Alex Anas, alexanas@buffalo.edu (and CC ecomain@buffalo.edu) to indicate interest in participating in the conference and ask any initial questions. An interest meeting will be held via Zoom in the Fall 2023 semester. Further logistical details will be provided during this meeting.

A. If you are an Economics BA student seeking upper-level elective course credit:

You may submit a registration form for the Spring 2024 semester for enrollment in Undergraduate Research (ECO 498, section SAEC, registration #23625).

B. If you are an Economics Masters student seeking elective course credit:

You may submit a registration form for enrollment in 1, 2, or 3 credits of Graduate Independent Research (ECO 598, section SAEC, registration #23626).

Students enrolled in either of the above sections will receive a grade for the course on their transcript in addition to an opportunity to be chosen as a winner of one of the available awards!

C. Any student who does not register for ECO 498 or ECO 598 can still participate in the conference and compete to win the best or runner-up paper award by contacting professor Anas and attending the interest meeting (as mentioned above).

2. Attend several classroom sessions in Spring 2024, organized by professor Anas to be introduced to the conference topic (see next page), and the background material to study.

3. Prepare a paper that presents an economic analysis of the issue(s) related to the conference topic and present your paper at the conference to be held near the end of the Spring 2024 semester.

The Spring 2024 conference topic:

Economic consequences of congestion pricing in Lower Manhattan.

Economic consequences of traffic congestion pricing in Lower Manhattan

Beginning in 2024, the City of New York will be instituting a new kind of tax: Cars (with possible exceptions) that enter Lower Manhattan from all directions will pay a toll which is currently estimated to be in the $15-$25 range per entry or higher.

Road congestion is a negative externality: cars traveling on the same road not only delay each other, but more car pollution is emitted at lower speeds. The congestion toll causes car traffic to be reduced, travel times to be shortened and less car pollution to be created.

The economist Arthur Pigou (1877 - 1959) in The Economics of Welfare, wrote about the virtues of taxing negative externalities in order to improve efficiency and the idea of congestion pricing was later proposed and defended by Nobel laureate William Vickrey (1914 – 1996) and other economists. Today the cities of Singapore, London, Stockholm, Milan have instituted various forms of congestion pricing with favorable results reported.

A second benefit of congestion pricing comes from the use of the toll revenue. In the case of New York City, the congestion toll is expected to raise in the order of a billion dollars each year which is slated for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) which plans to use the funds to improve its public transit operations.

A number of questions have arisen and the issue of congestion pricing in NYC remains controversial:

1.      How will public transportation be affected?

2.     How will the tolling impact the economy of Lower Manhattan, the rest of NYC and of New Jersey?

3.     What will happen to rents, building values, the location of jobs and residences, the conversion of buildings from offices to apartments?

4.    How will different groups in the population be affected?

For additional information on congestion pricing in Lower Manhattan, see this selection of commentaries and news articles.

A selection of commentaries and news articles on congestion pricing in Lower Manhattan:

ARTICLE 44-C Central Business District Tolling Program

Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 8

NYS Open Legislation | NYSenate.gov



Search results from websites 

10 Lessons Learned on Congestion Pricing from London and Stockholm January 6, 2020 (.pdf)

Downtown Congestion Pricing (San Francisco) February 2020 (.pdf)

Congestion Pricing Proposal (San Fransisco) (.pdf)

Case Studies: London, Stockholm, New York City February 2020 (.pdf)

Congestion Pricing Delay Could Cost New Yorkers 27,654 Years of Their Lives July 16, 2021 (.pdf)

OPINION: The Congestion Pricing Toll Really Should Be $80 January 27, 2022 (.pdf)

NYC congestion pricing: Here’s what we know amid the controversial program’s latest delay March 2, 2023 (.pdf)

NJ Gov. Murphy warns NYC congestion pricing gives commuters ‘excuse to not be in Manhattan’ March 19, 2023 (.pdf)

Congestion Pricing Plan in New York City Clears Final Federal Hurdle June 26, 2023 (.pdf)

New Jersey Sues Over Congestion Pricing in New York City July 21, 2023 (.pdf)

New Jersey sues to block New York traffic congestion plan July 21, 2023 (.pdf)

OPINION: An act of vehicular NYMBISM July 24, 2023 (.pdf)

How Might Congestion Pricing Actually Work in New York? July 28, 2023 (.pdf)

How a Congestion Pricing Windfall Could Upgrade the Subways July 31, 2023 (.pdf)


Search results from streetsblog.org

Search Results for "Congestion pricing" (streetsblog.org)


Search results from DNyuz

Search Results for “Congestion pricing” – DNyuz

Scholarly articles

Preliminary Results of the London Congestion Charging Scheme  October 2004 Public Works Management & Policy 9(2):164-181

(PDF) Preliminary Results of the London Congestion Charging Scheme (researchgate.net)

Reducing Urban Road Transportation Externalities: Road Pricing in Theory and in Practice Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 5(1) Anas, Alex and Lindsey, Robin. June 2011

req019 66..88 (escholarship.org)