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Municipal Finance of Urban Infrastructure: Knowns and Unknowns

  • James Alm


    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Various trends, including an increasing emphasis on fiscal decentralization; political democratization in many areas; globalization and the financial liberalization that often accompanies it; growing demands for urban services as urbanization continues in major cities around the world; all argue compellingly for finding ways to help municipalities finance large scale infrastructure. Improved urban infrastructure, for water supply, sanitation, urban transportation and solid waste management is widely believed essential in encouraging and facilitating economic growth. Evidence indicates that those countries most successful in sustaining high growth supported their cities with transformative investments to improve urban infrastructure that could accommodate rapid population growth in major economic centers. This evidence suggests that infrastructure has a strong “supplyside†orientation and in practice, it is the effects of infrastructure on “supply†that are most often emphasized. There is also a strong “demand-side†aspect: individuals and businesses value the services that flow from the stock of infrastructure facilities and these demands should be (but are often not) considered in determining the appropriate level of infrastructure investment. In addition to the potential supply-and-demand-side impacts on economic growth, the services of infrastructure also play a significant role in the distribution of income.[Working paper No. 19]

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Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1103.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1103
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  1. Roy Bahl, 1999. "Implementation Rules For Fiscal Decentralization," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper9803, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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