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Migration, Congestion Externalities, and the Evaluation of Spatial Investments

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  • Dinkelman, Taryn
  • Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam

Abstract

Evaluations of new infrastructure in developing countries typically focus on direct eff ects, such as the impact of an electrifi fication program on household energy use. But if new infrastructure induces people to move into an area, other local publicly provided goods may become congested, offsetting the benefit of the infrastructure. We use a simple model to show how to measure the net benefit of a place-based program without data on land prices -- an indicator that is commonly used to measure congestion in developed countries but that often cannot be used in poor countries because land markets are missing or land prices are badly measured. Our model shows that congestion externalities are especially large when land markets are missing. To illustrate, we estimate the welfare impact of a recent household electrification program in South Africa. Congestion externalities from migration reduced local welfare gains by half.

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  • Dinkelman, Taryn & Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam, 2012. "Migration, Congestion Externalities, and the Evaluation of Spatial Investments," CEPR Discussion Papers 9126, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9126
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    2. Lewis, Joshua & Severnini, Edson, 2020. "Short- and long-run impacts of rural electrification: Evidence from the historical rollout of the U.S. power grid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
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    4. Morales, Juan S., 2018. "The impact of internal displacement on destination communities: Evidence from the Colombian conflict," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 132-150.
    5. Breinlich, Holger & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2014. "Regional Growth and Regional Decline," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 683-779, Elsevier.
    6. Alexander D. Rothenberg & Samuel Bazzi & Shanthi Nataraj & Amalavoyal V. Chari, 2017. "When Regional Policies Fail An Evaluation of Indonesia's Integrated Economic Development Zones," Working Papers WR-1183, RAND Corporation.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    congestion e ffects; migration; program evaluation; rural infrastructure; South Africa; welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies

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