IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Decentralized structures for providing roads : a cross-country comparison

Listed author(s):
  • Humplick, Frannie
  • Moini-Araghi, Azadeh
Registered author(s):

    Minimizing costs is often cited as essential for optimizing service delivery. Roads are the oldest, most important infrastructure services provided by governments. They require construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and administration. Various institutional arrangements affect the degree to which costs can be minimized. Drawing on analyses of experiences with decentralized road provision in eight countries, a longitudinal change analysis of Korea, and vertical and horizontal analysis across states and local governments in Germany, the authors found that the impact of decentralization varies depending on which aspect one is considering: the efficiency of producing road services or the impact on road users. Resources costs are concave, increasing first and decreasing at later stages of decentralization. Preference costs are downward sloping, suggesting that road conditions improve as decentralization advances. In short, decentralization entails initial costs, mostly as losses in economies of scale. But those losses can be outweighed by increases in efficiency when the locus of roadwork is closer to the people. The advantages or limitations of decentralization are function-specific: a) maintenance functions are best provided locally; b) to minimize resource costs, construction should be either completely centralized or completely decentralized; and c) administrative activities are more efficiently provided by local units similar to local maintenance units.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1658.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 30 Sep 1996
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1658
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433

    Phone: (202) 477-1234
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1997. "Privatization in the United States," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 447-471, Autumn.
    2. Antonio Estache & Frannie Humplick, 1995. "Does decentralization improve infrastructure performance?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44079, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Antonio Estache, 1995. "Decentralizing Infrastructure: Advantages and Limitations," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44118, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Parker, Andrew N., 1995. "Decentralization : the way forward for rural development?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1475, The World Bank.
    5. Bird, Richard, 1994. "Decentralizing infrastructure : for good or ill?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1258, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1658. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.