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Quantifying spatial misallocation in centrally provided public goods

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  • Athreya, Siva
  • Somanathan, Rohini

Abstract

We show how an optimization algorithm can be used to approximately quan-tify the costs to users of spatial misallocation in centrally provided public goods. This method can be employed to evaluate the large programs of public good construction that have been central features of economic plans in many developing countries. We apply these methods to the allocation of post-offices in an administrative block of South India between 1981-1991 and find that more appropriate choices for post office locations could have reduced aggregate costs of travel to citizens in this area by at least 20%.
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Suggested Citation

  • Athreya, Siva & Somanathan, Rohini, 2008. "Quantifying spatial misallocation in centrally provided public goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 201-206, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:98:y:2008:i:2:p:201-206
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    2. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
    3. Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2001. "Can Good Projects Succeed in Bad Communities? Collective Action in the Himalayas," Working Paper Series rwp01-043, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Knight, Brian, 2004. "Parochial interests and the centralized provision of local public goods: evidence from congressional voting on transportation projects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 845-866, March.
    5. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guilhem Cassan, 2015. "Identity-Based Policies and Identity Manipulation: Evidence from Colonial Punjab," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 103-131, November.
    2. repec:eee:soceps:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis

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