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Estimating the social profitability of India's rural roads program : a bumpy ride

India's rural roads program, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, aims to draw villagers into the mainstream by improving not only their terms of trade, but also their educational attainments and health. Treating each all-weather feeder road as an isolated element within the larger network, and using shadow prices to value the main components of costs and benefits, the paper demonstrates that further investments in the program are, with high probability, socially profitable, especially in poorer and more densely settled regions. Taking the entire set of new individual roads together, qualitative arguments suggest that their external and spill-over effects on the system as a whole probably generate some net additional benefits, but of very uncertain magnitude.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6168.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6168
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  1. Shahidur R. Khandker & Zaid Bakht & Gayatri B. Koolwal, 2009. "The Poverty Impact of Rural Roads: Evidence from Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 685-722, 07.
  2. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Minten, Bart, 2008. "On measuring the benefits of lower transport costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4484, The World Bank.
  3. Shenggen Fan & Peter Hazell & Sukhadeo Thorat, 2000. "Government Spending, Growth and Poverty in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1038-1051.
  4. Binswanger, Hans P. & Khandker, Shahidur R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1993. "How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 337-366, August.
  5. Clive Bell & Susanne van Dillen, 2014. "How Does India’s Rural Roads Program Affect the Grassroots? Findings from a Survey in Upland Orissa," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 90(2), pages 372-394.
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