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Quantifying Spatial Misallocation In Centrally Provided Public Goods

  • Siva Athreya

    (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Rohini Somanathan

    (Delhi School of Economics)

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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Paper provided by Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics in its series Working papers with number 148.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:148
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Brian Knight, 2003. "Parochial Interests and the Centralized Provision of Local Public Goods: Evidence from Congressional Voting on Transportation Projects," NBER Working Papers 9748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
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