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Financing Infrastructure in Developing Countries: Lessons from the Railway Age

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  • Barry Eichengreen.

Abstract

This paper considers the role of infrastructure investment in the economic development of the regions of overseas European settlement in the 19th century. Its premise is that the pattern of investment in general, and the roles of public intervention and external finance in particular, were consequences of the structure of financial markets in countries in the early stages of economic development. Government intervention, external finance and debt-servicing difficulties were correlates of the financial-market imperfections that gave rise to informational asymmetries, moral hazard and adverse selection, while government policies to overcome asymmetric information encouraged management to engage in bankruptcy for profit. The tradeoff between credit rationing and bankruptcy for profit is at the heart of the paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen., 1994. "Financing Infrastructure in Developing Countries: Lessons from the Railway Age," Economics Working Papers 94-230, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:94-230
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    File URL: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/iber/wps/econ/E94-230.doc
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof & Paul M. Romer, 1993. "Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 1-74.
    2. Jenks, Leland H., 1951. "Britain and American Railway Development," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(04), pages 375-388, September.
    3. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    4. David de Meza & David C. Webb, 1987. "Too Much Investment: A Problem of Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 281-292.
    5. Jenks, Leland H., 1944. "Railroads as an Economic Force in American Development," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 1-20, May.
    6. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent Bignon & Rui Esteves & Alfonso Herranz-Loncán, 2015. "Big push or big grab? Railways, government activism, and export growth in Latin America, 1865–1913," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(4), pages 1277-1305, November.
    2. James Alm, 2015. "Financing Urban Infrastructure: Knowns, Unknowns, And A Way Forward," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 230-262, April.
    3. Olivier Debande, 1997. "Le rôle du secteur privé dans le financement des infrastructures : une mise en perspective historique," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 48(2), pages 197-230.
    4. Singh, Nirvikar & Srinivasan, T. N., 2004. "Fiscal Policy in India: Lessons and Priorities," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8nx3v467, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    5. P. Nayak, 2007. "Infrastructure Development in India An Appraisal," Working Papers id:980, eSocialSciences.
    6. Ramamurti, Ravi, 1997. "Testing the limits of privatization: Argentine railroads," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 1973-1993, December.

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