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Empirical analysis of transportation investment and economic development at state, county and municipality levels

  • Joseph Berechman
  • Dilruba Ozmen
  • Kaan Ozbay
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    Numerous studies have found positive correlation between transportation infrastructure investment and economic development. Basically these studies use a conventional production function model augmented by a public capital input, mainly highways, rail and other transportation facilities. While the range of the measured economic growth effects varies widely among studies, the positive elasticity between transportation investment and economic development is now commonly accepted. Still a major puzzling issue is that the magnitude of the measured effect seems to decline significantly as the econometric model is further refined, mainly with regard to space and time lags. That is, the use of national or state data produces elasticity results, which are much larger than when using county or municipality data. Similarly, when we introduce into the econometric model a lag between the times when the transportation investments are made and when the economic benefits transpire, the measured elasticities decline with the size of the lag. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to investigate these issues analytically and empirically and provide a plausible explanation. We do so by using alternative econometric models, applying them to a database, which is composed of longitudinal state, county and municipality observations from 1990 to 2000. The key result is that transportation investments produce strong spillover effects relative to space and time. Unless these factors are properly accounted for many reported empirical results are likely to be overly biased, with important policy implications. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11116-006-7472-6
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Transportation.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 6 (November)
    Pages: 537-551

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:33:y:2006:i:6:p:537-551
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    1. Randall W. Eberts, 1990. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 15-27.
    2. Haughwout, Andrew F., 2002. "Public infrastructure investments, productivity and welfare in fixed geographic areas," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 405-428, March.
    3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Amy Ellen Schwartz, 1995. "Spatial Productivity Spillovers from Public Infrastructure: Evidence from State Highways," NBER Working Papers 5004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lynde, Catherine & Richmond, James, 1992. "The Role of Public Capital in Production," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 37-44, February.
    5. Duffy-Deno, Kevin T. & Eberts, Randall W., 1991. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development: A simultaneous equations approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 329-343, November.
    6. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    7. Randall W. Eberts, 1986. "Estimating the contribution of urban public infrastructure to regional growth," Working Paper 8610, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    8. Alicia H. Munnell & Leah M. Cook, 1990. "How does public infrastructure affect regional economic performance?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 11-33.
    9. Ozbay, Kaan & Ozmen-Ertekin, Dilruba & Berechman, Joseph, 2007. "Contribution of transportation investments to county output," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 317-329, July.
    10. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.
    11. Boarnet, Marlon G., 1996. "The Direct and Indirect Economic Effects of Transportation Infrastructure," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1506r290, University of California Transportation Center.
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