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Priority Roads: The Political Economy of Africa's Interior-to-Coast Roads

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  • Roberto Bonfatti
  • Yuan Gu
  • Steven Poelhekke

Abstract

Africa’s interior-to-coast roads are well suited to export natural resources, but not to support regional trade. Are they the optimal response to geography and comparative advantage, or the result of suboptimal political distortions? We investigate the political determinants of road paving in West Africa across the 1965-2012 period. Controlling for geography and the endogeneity of democratization, we show that autocracies tend to connect natural resource deposits to ports, while the networks expanded in a less interior-to-coast way in periods of democracy. This result suggests that Africa’s interior-to-coast roads are at least in part the result of suboptimal political distortions.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Bonfatti & Yuan Gu & Steven Poelhekke, 2019. "Priority Roads: The Political Economy of Africa's Interior-to-Coast Roads," CESifo Working Paper Series 7478, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7478
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lorz, Oliver, 2020. "Investment in trade facilitating infrastructure: A political-economy analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political economy; democracy; infrastructure; natural resources; development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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