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Migration, Congestion Externalities, and the Evaluation of Spatial Investments

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  • Dinkelman, Taryn
  • Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam

Abstract

Evaluations of new infrastructure in developing countries typically focus on direct eff ects, such as the impact of an electrifi fication program on household energy use. But if new infrastructure induces people to move into an area, other local publicly provided goods may become congested, offsetting the benefit of the infrastructure. We use a simple model to show how to measure the net benefit of a place-based program without data on land prices -- an indicator that is commonly used to measure congestion in developed countries but that often cannot be used in poor countries because land markets are missing or land prices are badly measured. Our model shows that congestion externalities are especially large when land markets are missing. To illustrate, we estimate the welfare impact of a recent household electrification program in South Africa. Congestion externalities from migration reduced local welfare gains by half.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9126.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9126

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Keywords: congestion e ffects; migration; program evaluation; rural infrastructure; South Africa; welfare;

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  1. Glaeser, Edward L., 2008. "Cities, Agglomeration, and Spatial Equilibrium," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199290444, September.
  2. Taryn Dinkelman, 2011. "The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3078-3108, December.
  3. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Nancy Qian, 2012. "On the Road: Access to Transportation Infrastructure and Economic Growth in China," Working Papers id:4826, eSocialSciences.
  4. Devoto, Florencia & Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Parienté, William & Pons, Vincent, 2011. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," CEPR Discussion Papers 8326, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lucas Davis, 2008. "The Effect of Power Plants on Local Housing Values and Rents: Evidence from Restricted Census Microdata," Working Papers 08-19, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2010. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence From Project STAR," NBER Working Papers 16381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-74, September.
  8. Quigley, John M., 2008. "Urbanization, Agglomeration, and Economic Development," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt6tf2s100, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  9. Usher, Dan, 1977. "Public Property and the Effects of Migration upon Other Residents of the Migrants' Countries of Origin and Destination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 1001-20, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Holger Breinlich & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Jonathan R.W. Temple, 2013. "Regional growth and regional decline," Economics Discussion Papers 729, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

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