The Europeans’ Expectations of Competition Effects in Passenger Rail Transport: A Cross-National Multilevel Analysis

Abstract

This study explores the overall expectations of Europeans on railway competition effects for long-distance passenger transport. This construct is measured by a set of items, namely how railway companies are managed, frequency of trains, ticket prices, quality of services offered to passengers on the train, punctuality, number of stations or routes served, safety of the railway network, and comfort and cleanliness of trains. A multilevel factor framework controls within- and between-variability across European Union countries and takes cross-country invariance into account. Results show that the overall expectations of Europeans on railway competition effects are significant in explaining variations in all the observed items for the railway competition effects at both levels. The multilevel structure (between-country variability) accounts for 12.1 % of the total variability.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    As many attitudes and behaviors show an ideal-point relation with age, we tried a quadratic relation between age and the individual latent variable. However, the estimate of the quadratic coefficient was positive and smaller than 0.001, which proved not to be significant. Consequently, we defined a piecewise relation given by dummy-coding groups that shows there is a significant relation for the 35 years or older age group.

  2. 2.

    Main reasons for using national or regional trains was not added to the model as covariate. Respondents who answer “never” to Frequency of travel on national or regional trains were not asked about the reasons (missing by design due to the filter). Therefore, the inclusion of this covariate would shrink the sample size to 13230 observations. Additionally, as we can observe in Table 2, this would completely bias the results at country level.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript.

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Correspondence to José G. Dias.

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Dias, J.G., Trindade, G. The Europeans’ Expectations of Competition Effects in Passenger Rail Transport: A Cross-National Multilevel Analysis. Soc Indic Res 129, 1383–1399 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-015-1168-2

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Keywords

  • Expectations of railway competition effects
  • Cross-cultural research
  • Multilevel factor model
  • Service quality
  • European Union