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Transport and the economy: a 21st century approach


  • John Whitelegg

    (Stockholm Environment Institute, Universidad de York)


This article interrogates over 30 years of transport and economics research into the relationships between transport investments and desirable economic development results. It finds the evidence in favour of this virtuous relationship at best weak and in most respects non-existent. Investing in new highways, airports and other large transport infrastructure projects does not appear to generate the anticipated economic development benefits. There is, however, compelling evidence that de-coupling policies to improve competitiveness and quality of life through reducing the demand for transport, emissions and oil dependence does encourage gains in economic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • John Whitelegg, 2010. "Transport and the economy: a 21st century approach," EKONOMIAZ. Revista vasca de Economía, Gobierno Vasco / Eusko Jaurlaritza / Basque Government, vol. 73(01), pages 128-147.
  • Handle: RePEc:ekz:ekonoz:2010109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Hellwig, 2009. "Systemic Risk in the Financial Sector: An Analysis of the Subprime-Mortgage Financial Crisis," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 129-207, June.
    2. Van Horne, James C, 1985. " Of Financial Innovations and Excesses," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 621-631, July.
    3. Robert Wade & José Ocampo & Kevin Gallagher, 2009. "The Economic Crisis and the Developing World: What Next?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(1), pages 27-39.
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    More about this item


    transport; economy; transport investment; decoupling;

    JEL classification:

    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects


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