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Choosing Rural Road Investments to Help Reduce Poverty


  • van de Walle, Dominique


The author examines how rural road investment projects should be selected and appraised when the objective is poverty reduction. After critically reviewing past and current practices, the author develops an operational approach grounded in a public economics framework in which concerns of equity and efficiency are inseparable, information is incomplete in important ways, and resources are limited. She addresses a key problem: that an important share of the benefits to the poor from rural roads cannot be measured in monetary terms. The selction formula she proposes aims to identify places where poverty and economic potential are high and access is low. She illustrates the method using data for and project experience in Vietnam. Among the advantages of proceeding as outlined in her proposal: This approach holds the hope of building capacity and is participatory; it extracts local information that may not be readily available to the central government; and it appears to be feasible because it relies on local authorities participating in the appraisal of subprojects.
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Suggested Citation

  • van de Walle, Dominique, 2002. "Choosing Rural Road Investments to Help Reduce Poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 575-589, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:30:y:2002:i:4:p:575-589

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Binswanger, Hans P. & Khandker, Shahidur R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1993. "How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 337-366, August.
    2. Minot, Nicholas & Baulch, Bob, 2002. "The spatial distribution of poverty in Vietnam and the potential for targeting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2829, The World Bank.
    3. Riverson, J. & Gaviria, J. & Thriscutt, S., 1991. "Rural roads in Sub-Saharan Africa: lessons from World Bank experience," Papers 141, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    4. Maureen Kilkenny, 1995. "Transport Costs and Rural Development," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 95-wp133, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    5. Fan, Shenggen & Hazell, P. B. R. & Thorat, Sukhadeo, 1999. "Linkages between government spending, growth, and poverty in rural India:," Research reports 110, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Jacoby, Hanan C, 2000. "Access to Markets and the Benefits of Rural Roads," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 713-737, July.
    7. Antle, John M, 1983. "Infrastructure and Aggregate Agricultural Productivity: International Evidence," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 609-619, April.
    8. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Geographic Poverty Traps?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 86, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation


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