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Do rural infrastructure investments benefit the poor? Evaluating linkages : a global view, a focus on Vietnam


  • Songco, Jocelyn A.


What are linkages between rural infrastructure investments, and household welfare? In the past, most of the evaluations to assess the effectiveness of a project, focused on physical outputs, and success of project implementation. In recent years, more attention has been given to the impact of investments, particularly its effect on the poor, both in economic, and non-economic terms. The author presents findings from a survey of the existing literature on such impacts. Although evidence exists for improved household welfare from rural infrastructure investment, little evidence was found of studies that provided concrete linkages between specific investments in rural infrastructure, and increased welfare of the rural poor. This is due in part to the complexity, and oftentimes the concurrent nature of interventions, that make attributing welfare improvements, to a particular project, virtually impossible. The evidence is presented in this three-part paper. Part I gives examples of past, and current attempts to assess the impact of rural infrastructure projects, and provides suggestions for future evaluations. Part II discusses in detail some observed economic, and non-economic impacts on the poor, from different rural infrastructure interventions. Part III presents lessons learned from the literature on how to maximize the impact of rural infrastructure interventions on household welfare. Specific project, and country examples from the literature, and new data from a recent qualitative study in Vietnam, are presented as evidence for, and illustration of key ideas, and issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Songco, Jocelyn A., 2002. "Do rural infrastructure investments benefit the poor? Evaluating linkages : a global view, a focus on Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2796, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2796

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Does piped water reduce diarrhea for children in rural India?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 153-173, January.
    2. Komives, Kristin & Whittington, Dale & Wu, Xun, 2001. "Infrastructure coverage and the poor : the global perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2551, The World Bank.
    3. Cabraal, A. & Cosgrove-Davies, M. & Schaeffer, L., 1996. "Best Practices for Photovoltaic Household Electrification Programs: Lessons from Experiences in Selected Countries," Papers 324, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    4. Dominique van de Walle, 2003. "Are Returns to Investment Lower for the Poor? Human and Physical Capital Interactions in Rural Vietnam," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 636-653, November.
    5. Jacoby, Hanan C, 2000. "Access to Markets and the Benefits of Rural Roads," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 713-737, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Aparicio & Miguel A. Jaramillo & Cristina San Román, 2011. "Desarrollo de la infraestructura y reducción de la pobreza: el caso peruano," Working Papers 11-00, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico, revised Sep 2011.
    2. Quoc-Anh Do & Kieu-Trang Nguyen & Anh N. Tran, 2016. "One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2q4cjijvsm8, Sciences Po.
    3. World Bank, 2008. "INGENS - Income Generation through Energy and Complementary Services : Status Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12548, The World Bank.
    4. Getachew, Yoseph Yilma, 2010. "Public capital and distributional dynamics in a two-sector growth model," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 606-616, June.
    5. World Bank, 2004. "Chile - Rural Infrastructure in Chile : Enhancing Efficiency and Sustainability," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14371, The World Bank.
    6. Fan, Shenggen & Chan-Kang, Connie, 2004. "Road development, economic growth, and poverty reduction in China," DSGD discussion papers 12, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


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