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

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  • Songco, Jocelyn A.
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    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.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2796.

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    Date of creation: 28 Feb 2002
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2796
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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Komives, Kristin & Whittington, Dale & Wu, Xun, 2001. "Infrastructure coverage and the poor : the global perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2551, The World Bank.
    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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