Road infrastructure and economic development : some diagnostic indicators
The authors investigate the association between per capita income and the magnitude and quality of road infrastructure. They adopt an empirical approach, directly comparing or correlating a countries income with selected variables associated with existing road networks. Cross-section analysis of data from 98 countries, and time series analysis of U.S. data since 1950, show consistent and significant associations between economic development (per capita GNP) and road infrastructure (per capita length of paved network). The data shows that the per capita stock of road infrastructure in high income economies is dramatically greater than in middle- and low-income economies. For instance, the average density of paved roads (km/million inhabitants) varies from 170 in low-income economies to 1,660 in middle-income and 10,110 in high-income economies. That is, the average density of paved roads in high-income economies is 59 times that in the low-income group. Road conditions also seem to be associated with economic development: the density of paved roads in good condition varies from 40 km/million inhabitants in low-income economies to 470 middle-income and 8,550 in high-income economies. The empirical information presented can be used as indicators of areas of weakness or strength in a country's stock of road infrastructure.
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