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Highways and Economic Productivity: Interpreting Recent Evidence

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  • Boarnet, Marlon G.

Abstract

This paper reviews the recent literature on public infrastructure and economic productivity, with special attention to the particular case of highway infrastructure. Recent evidence suggests that, at the margin, highway infrastructure contributes little to state or national productivity. This is consistent with studies that show relatively small land use impacts from modern highways. Yet the idea that highways enhance economic health is common in the policy and planning communities. Two explanations can help reconcile this divergence between academic research and popular perception. First, some of the economic development observed near highways might not actually be caused by the highway. Second, some of the economic development near highways might be a shift of economic activity away from other areas. Either explanation suggests the need for reforms in highway project analysis and funding. Appropriate policy reforms and directions for future research are suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Boarnet, Marlon G., 1995. "Highways and Economic Productivity: Interpreting Recent Evidence," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4g79984s, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt4g79984s
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    Cited by:

    1. Noland, Robert B., 2001. "Relationships between highway capacity and induced vehicle travel," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 47-72, January.
    2. Plaut, Pnina O & Deakin, Elizabeth, 2006. "Economic and Travel Impacts of Bypass Roads: A Comparative Study of Israel and the U.S," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6711w6z7, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. Guangqing Chi & Jun Zhu, 2008. "Spatial Regression Models for Demographic Analysis," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 27(1), pages 17-42, February.
    4. Kang, Chang Deok & Cervero, Robert, 2008. "From Elevated Freeway to Linear Park: Land Price Impacts of Seoul, Korea's CGC Project," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt81r021w2, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
    5. Konstantina Gkritza & Kumares Sinha & Samuel Labi & Fred Mannering, 2008. "Influence of highway construction projects on economic development: an empirical assessment," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(3), pages 545-563, September.
    6. David, Martín-Barroso & Juan Andres, Nuñez & Francisco J., Velazquez, 2013. "The efect on firms' Productivity of accessibility. The Spanish manufacturung sector," MPRA Paper 45842, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mehmet Aldonat Beyzatlar & Mehmet Yeşim Kuştepeli, 2011. "Infrastructure, Economic Growth and Population Density in Turkey," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(3), pages 39-57, December.
    8. Cervero, Robert, 2001. "Induced Demand: An Urban Metropolitan Perspective," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5pj337gw, University of California Transportation Center.
    9. Michael L. Lahr & Rodrigo Duran & Anupa Varughese, 2004. "Estimating the Impact of Highways on Average Travel Velocities and Market Size," Urban/Regional 0403009, EconWPA.
    10. Luoto, Jani, 2011. "Aggregate infrastructure capital stock and long-run growth: Evidence from Finnish data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 181-191, March.

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