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On measuring the benefits of lower transport costs

  • Jacoby, Hanan G.
  • Minten, Bart

Despite large amounts invested in rural roads in developing countries, little is known about their benefits. This paper derives an expression for the willingness-to-pay for a reduction in transport costs from the canonical agricultural household model and uses it to estimate the benefits of a hypothetical road project. Estimation is based on novel cross-sectional data collected in a small region of Madagascar with enormous, yet plausibly exogenous, variation in transport cost. A road that essentially eliminated transport costs in the study area would boost the incomes of the remotest households-those facing transport costs of about USD 75/ton-by nearly half, mostly by raising non-farm earnings. This benefit estimate is contrasted to one based on a hedonic approach.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4484.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4484
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  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2005. "Cities and Specialisation: Evidence from South Asia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 477-504, 04.
  2. Mu, Ren & van de Walle, Dominique, 2007. "Rural roads and poor area development in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4340, The World Bank.
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  7. Mitchell Polinsky, A. & Shavell, Steven, 1976. "Amenities and property values in a model of an urban area," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 119-129.
  8. Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1986. "The short-run and long-run benefits of environmental improvement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 61-81, June.
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  11. Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-76, September.
  12. Gersovitz, Mark, 1989. "Transportation, State Marketing, and the Taxation of the Agricultural Hinterland," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1113-37, October.
  13. Marcel Fafchamps & Ruth Vargas Hill, 2004. "Selling at the farm-gate or travelling to market," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-30, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  14. Jacoby, Hanan G., 1998. "Access to markets and the benefits of rural roads," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2028, The World Bank.
  15. Arnott, Richard J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1981. "Aggregate Land Rents and Aggregate Transport Costs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 331-47, June.
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