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The Effects of Infrastructure Development on Growth and income

  • Luis Serven
  • César Calderon

This paper provides an empirical evaluation of the impact of infrastructure development on economic growth and income distribution using a large panel data set encompassing over 100 countries and spanning the years 1960-2000. The empirical strategy involves the estimation of simple equations for GDP growth and conventional inequality measures, augmented to include among the regressors infrastructure quantity and quality indicators in addition to standard controls. To account for the potential endogeneity of infrastructure (as well as that of other regressors) we use a variety of GMM estimators based on both internal and external instruments, and report results using both disaggregated and synthetic measures of infrastructure quantity and quality. The two robust results are: (i) growth is positively affected by the stock of infrastructure assets, and (b) income inequality declines with higher infrastructure quantity and quality. A variety of specification tests suggest that these results do capture the causal impact of the exogenous component of infrastructure quantity and quality on growth and inequality. These two results combined suggest that infrastructure development can be highly effective to combat poverty. Furthermore, illustrative simulations for Latin American countries suggest that these impacts are economically quite significant, and highlight the growth acceleration and inequality reduction that would result from increased availability and quality of infrastructure

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings with number 173.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:latm04:173
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alberto Chong & César Calderón, 2001. "Volume and Quality of Infrastructure and the Distribution of Income: An Empirical Investigation," Research Department Publications 4263, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
  4. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  5. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  6. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Improving the SGP Through a Proper Accounting of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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