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Dealing with politics for money and power in infrastructure

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  • Benitez, Daniel
  • Estache, Antonio
  • Soreide, Tina

Abstract

Policy recommendations for infrastructure provision usually build on a well-established understanding of best practice for sector governance. Too rarely are they adapted to the country-specific political environment even if this is an area where policy choices are likely to be subject to private agendas in politics. The fact that such private agendas are often ignored goes a long way toward explaining why infrastructure policies fail and why best practice can be counterproductive. While non-benevolence and rent-seeking are well described in the literature and anecdotes abound, there is only limited consideration of how the different incentive problems in politics impede policy improvements in infrastructure. This paper addresses why politics in infrastructure cannot be ignored, drawing on theoretical results and a systematic review of experiences. It reviews how different private agendas in politics will have different impacts for sector-governance decisions -- and hence service delivery. The concept of best practice in policy recommendations should be reconsidered in a wide perspective and allow for tailored solutions based on an understanding of the given incentive problems. Policy recommendations should take into account how coordination trade-offs may complicate efforts to reduce the possible impact of private agendas on infrastructure policy decisions. Although more transparency linked to service delivery indicators is a"safe"recommendation, it is also clear that the demand for good governance will not be sufficient to secure political accountability in a sector with huge vested interests combined with complicated funding schemes and complex contracts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5455.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5455

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Keywords: Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures; National Governance; Governance Indicators; Environmental Economics&Policies; Transport Economics Policy&Planning;

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  1. Ahmad, Junaid & Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Shah, Shekhar, 2005. "Decentralization and service delivery," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3603, The World Bank.
  2. Dal Bo, Ernesto & Rossi, Martin A., 2007. "Corruption and inefficiency: Theory and evidence from electric utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 939-962, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Monica Beuran & Marie Castaing Gachassin & Gaël Raballand, 2013. "Are There Myths on Road Impact and Transport in Sub-Saharan Africa?," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13049, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  2. Monica Beuran & Marie Castaing Gachassin & Gaël Raballand, 2013. "Are There Myths on Road Impact and Transport in Sub-Saharan Africa?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00830006, HAL.

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