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Aggregate Productivity Effects of Road Investment - A Reassessment for Western Europe

  • Andreas Kopp

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    The paper investigates the productivity effects of national road infrastructure investment in Western Europe.The study makes use of newly available OECD/ECMT data showing a secular decline of productivity growth and of transport infrastructure investment. Infrastructure availability is modelled like an unpaid shadow factor allowing for more than constant aggregate returns to scale while firms operate with linear homogenous production functions, with transport as an input. Productivity increases are measured by the Toernquist index The link between road investment and macroeconomic productivity is studied using a new econometric technique to avoid the identification problem that discredited the early literature. The results show that there is no clear over- or underinvestment. The aggregate level of road investment seems to be such that the implied rate of return is close to the opportunity cost of private capital.

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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu-wien.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa05/papers/631.pdf
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    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa05p631.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p631
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    1. Nadiri, M Ishaq & Mamuneas, Theofanis P, 1994. "The Effects of Public Infrastructure and R&D Capital on the Cost Structure and Performance of U.S. Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 22-37, February.
    2. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
    3. Jan Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan,, 1994. "Is public expenditure really productive? New evidence for the US and the Netherlands," Working Papers 20, Centre for Economic Research, University of Groningen and University of Twente.
    4. Gerald A. Carlino & Richard Voith, 1989. "Accounting for differences in aggregate state productivity," Working Papers 90-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. Alicia H. Munnell & Leah M. Cook, 1990. "How does public infrastructure affect regional economic performance?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 11-33.
    6. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Amy Ellen Schwartz, 1995. "Spatial Productivity Spillovers from Public Infrastructure: Evidence from State Highways," NBER Working Papers 5004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Garcia-Mila, Teresa & McGuire, Therese J., 1992. "The contribution of publicly provided inputs to states' economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 229-241, June.
    8. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.
    9. Morrison, Catherine J & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 1996. "State Infrastructure and Productive Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1095-1111, December.
    10. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1994. "Public-Sector Capital and the Productivity Puzzle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 12-21, February.
    11. G. Duggal, Vijaya & Saltzman, Cynthia & Klein, Lawrence R., 1999. "Infrastructure and productivity: a nonlinear approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 47-74, September.
    12. Canning, David, 1999. "Infrastructure's contribution to aggregate output," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2246, The World Bank.
    13. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
    14. John G. Fernald, 1999. "Roads to Prosperity? Assessing the Link between Public Capital and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 619-638, June.
    15. David Alan Aschauer, 1990. "Why is infrastructure important?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 34, pages 21-68.
    16. P. Demetriades, 1998. "International Aspects of Public Infrastructure Investment," CIBS Research Papers in International Business 8-98, London South Bank University CIBS.
    17. Chandra, Amitabh & Thompson, Eric, 2000. "Does public infrastructure affect economic activity?: Evidence from the rural interstate highway system," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 457-490, July.
    18. Canning, David & Bennathan, Esra, 2000. "The social rate of return on infrastructure investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2390, The World Bank.
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