The Brasilia Experiment: Road Access and the Spatial Pattern of Long-Term Local Development in Brazil

66 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Julia Bird

Julia Bird

World Bank

Stéphane Straub

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE)

Date Written: July 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of the rapid expansion of the Brazilian road network, which occurred from the 1960s to the 2000s, on the growth and spatial allocation of population and economic activity across the country's municipalities. It addresses the problem of endogeneity in infrastructure location by using an original empirical strategy, based on the "historical natural experiment" constituted by the creation of the new federal capital city Bras?lia in 1960. The results reveal a dual pattern, with improved transport connections increasing concentration of economic activity and population around the main centers in the South of the country, while spurring the emergence of secondary economic centers in the less developed North, in line with predictions in terms of agglomeration economies. Over the period, roads are shown to account for half of pcGDP growth and to spur a significant decrease in spatial inequality.

Keywords: Urban Communities, Infrastructure Regulation, Infrastructure Economics, City to City Alliances, Urban Economic Development, Inter-Urban Roads and Passenger Transport, Infrastructure and Law, Transport in Urban Areas, Roads & Highways, Regional Urban Development, Urban Transport, National Urban Development Policies & Strategies, Urban Economics, Roads and Highways Performance, Infrastructure Finance

Suggested Citation

Bird, Julia and Straub, Stephane, The Brasilia Experiment: Road Access and the Spatial Pattern of Long-Term Local Development in Brazil (July 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6964, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2462336

Julia Bird (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

Stephane Straub

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) ( email )

21 Allée de Brienne
F-31042 Toulouse Cedex, 31000
France
05 61 12 85 37 (Phone)
05 61 12 85 38 (Fax)

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