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Are rural road investments alone sufficient to generate transport flows ? lessons from a randomized experiment in rural Malawi and policy implications

Author

Listed:
  • Raballand, Gael
  • Thornton, Rebecca
  • Yang, Dean
  • Goldberg, Jessica
  • Keleher, Niall
  • Muller, Annika

Abstract

This paper draws lessons from an original randomized experiment in Malawi. In order to understand why roads in relatively good condition in rural areas may not be used by buses, a minibus service was subsidized over a six-month period over a distance of 20 kilometers to serve five villages. Using randomly allocated prices for use of the bus, this experiment demonstrates that at very low prices, bus usage is high. Bus usage decreases rapidly with increased prices. However, based on the results on take-up and minibus provider surveys, the experiment demonstrates that at any price, low (with high usage) or high (with low usage), a bus service provider never breaks even on this road. This can contribute to explain why walking or cycling is so widespread on most rural roads in Sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of policy implications, this experiment explains that motorized services need to be subsidized; otherwise a road in good condition will most probably not lead to provision of service at an affordable price for the local population.

Suggested Citation

  • Raballand, Gael & Thornton, Rebecca & Yang, Dean & Goldberg, Jessica & Keleher, Niall & Muller, Annika, 2011. "Are rural road investments alone sufficient to generate transport flows ? lessons from a randomized experiment in rural Malawi and policy implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5535, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5535
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Samer Al-Samarrai, 2006. "Achieving education for all: how much does money matter?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 179-206.
    2. Al-Samarrai, Samer & Peasgood, Tessa, 1998. "Educational attainments and household characteristics in Tanzania," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 395-417, October.
    3. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1981. "The demand for deductibles in private health insurance : A probit model with sample selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 229-252, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Winters, L. Alan, 2014. "Globalization, Infrastructure, and Inclusive Growth," ADBI Working Papers 464, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    2. Stifel, David & Minten, Bart & Koro, Bethlehem, 2012. "Economic Benefits and Returns to Rural Feeder Roads: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Setting in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 40, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Monica Beuran & Marie Gachassin & Gaël Raballand, 2015. "Are There Myths on Road Impact and Transport in Sub-Saharan Africa?," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 33(5), pages 673-700, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Transport in Urban Areas; Urban Transport; Markets and Market Access; Rural Roads&Transport;

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