According to researcher João Pereira dos Santos, from the University of Lisbon: “The introduction of tolls on ex-SCUT roads had a substantial causal effect in reducing sales and profits for companies that were located at those sites, when compared to others, on average,” he said.

João Pereira dos Santos, who is a professor at the Higher Institute of Economics and Management (ISEG) at the University of Lisbon, presented the latest results of a scientific study that points out the “causal effects” of the introduction of tolls in the performance of companies.

The study looks at official company data between 2011 and 2016 (period in which tolls were already applied) and compares them with previous results, concluding that there was an impact on performance.

As he revealed, when tolls were introduced, it was found that companies had fewer sales and also that profits dropped significantly.

In this study, it was also found that these losses ended up having impacts on employment, as companies stopped hiring or started hiring less.

“Companies reacted by reducing their expenses and trying to cut back on some employment-related expenses, but the salary didn't change, they just didn't hire new people or had a harder time hiring new people,” he pointed out.

Companies most affected

He specified that the companies most affected are those linked to manufacturing (industry) and tradable sectors, with impacts also occurring in the non-tradable and services sectors, but “with less intensity”.

The researcher explained that these issues ultimately translate into “a negative shock” for the Portuguese economy as a whole.

With the exception that this work focuses on the private sector, he also argued that the Government should look at other associated issues, such as impacts on road safety, pollution and the well-being of populations.