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Contribution to Productivity or Pork Barrel? The Two Faces of Infrastructure Investment

  • Olivier Cadot
  • Lars-Hendrik Röller
  • Andreas Stephan

This paper proposes a simultaneous-equation approach to the estimation of the contribution of transport infrastructure accumulation to regional growth. We model explicitly the political-economy process driving infrastructure investments; in doing so, we eliminate a potential source of bias in production-function estimates and generate testable hypotheses on the forces that shape infrastructure policy. Our empirical findings on a panel of France’s regions over 1985-92 suggest that electoral concerns and influence activities were, indeed, significant determinants of the cross-regional allocation of transportation infrastructure investments. By contrast, we find little evidence of concern for the maximization of economic returns to infrastructure spending, even after controlling for pork-barrel. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG - (Beitrag zur Produktivität oder Pork-barrel? Die zwei Seiten von Infrastrukturinvestitionen) In dieser Untersuchung wird ein simultanes Gleichungssystem zur Schätzung des Beitrags von Verkehrsinfrastrukturinvestitionen zu regionalem Wachstum verwendet. Es wird explizit der politische Prozeß modelliert, der Infrastrukturinvestitionen determiniert; dadurch wird eine mögliche Ursache einer verzerrten Parameterschätzung vermieden, die eintreten kann, wenn Produktionsfunktionen einzeln geschätzt werden. Gleichzeitig fließen in das Modell weitere empirisch überprüfbare Hypothesen über die Determinanten von Infrastrukturpolitik ein. Die empirischen Ergebnisse für einen Paneldatensatz mit 21 französischen Regionen im Zeitraum 1985-1991 zeigen, daß unterstützende Aktivitäten in der Tat einen signifikanten Einfluß auf die regionale Allokation von Verkehrsinfrastrukturinvestitionen haben. Darüber hinaus werden nur wenig empirische Hinweise dafür gefunden, daß auch erwartete Produktivitätseffekte von Infrastruktur bei der regionalen Allokation in Frankreich von Bedeutung sind.

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Paper provided by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG) in its series CIG Working Papers with number FS IV 02-09.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: May 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in the Journal of Public Economics , Vol. 90(6-7), Aug. 2006, pages 1133-1153.
Handle: RePEc:wzb:wzebiv:fsiv02-09
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