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Are rural road investments alone sufficient to generate transport flows ? lessons from a randomized experiment in rural Malawi and policy implications

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  • Raballand, Gael
  • Thornton, Rebecca
  • Yang, Dean
  • Goldberg, Jessica
  • Keleher, Niall
  • Muller, Annika

Abstract

This paper draws lessons from an original randomized experiment in Malawi. In order to understand why roads in relatively good condition in rural areas may not be used by buses, a minibus service was subsidized over a six-month period over a distance of 20 kilometers to serve five villages. Using randomly allocated prices for use of the bus, this experiment demonstrates that at very low prices, bus usage is high. Bus usage decreases rapidly with increased prices. However, based on the results on take-up and minibus provider surveys, the experiment demonstrates that at any price, low (with high usage) or high (with low usage), a bus service provider never breaks even on this road. This can contribute to explain why walking or cycling is so widespread on most rural roads in Sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of policy implications, this experiment explains that motorized services need to be subsidized; otherwise a road in good condition will most probably not lead to provision of service at an affordable price for the local population.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5535.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5535

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Related research

Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Transport in Urban Areas; Urban Transport; Markets and Market Access; Rural Roads&Transport;

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Cited by:
  1. Stifel, David & Minten, Bart & Koro, Bethlehem, 2012. "Economic Benefits and Returns to Rural Feeder Roads: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Setting in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 40, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  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), HAL halshs-00830006, HAL.
  3. Winters, L. Alan, 2014. "Globalization, Infrastructure, and Inclusive Growth," ADBI Working Papers, Asian Development Bank Institute 464, Asian Development Bank Institute.

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