Bright Investments: Measuring the Impact of Transport Infrastructure Using Luminosity Data in Haiti

43 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Oscar A. Mitnik

Oscar A. Mitnik

Inter-American Development Bank; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Patricia Yañez-Pagans

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Raul Sanchez

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Abstract

This paper quantifies the impacts of transport infrastructure investments on economic activity in Haiti, using satellite night-light luminosity as a proxy measure. Our identification strategy exploits the differential timing of rehabilitation projects across various road segments of the primary road network. We combine multiple sources of non-traditional data and carefully address concerns related to unobserved heterogeneity. The results obtained across multiple specifications consistently indicate that receiving a road rehabilitation project leads to an increase in luminosity values of between 6% and 26% at the communal section level.Taking into account the national level elasticity between luminosity values and GDP, we approximate that these interventions translate into communal section-GDP increases of between 0.5% and 2.1%, for communal sections benefited by a transport infrastructure project. We observe temporal and spatial variation in results, and crucially that the larger impacts appear once projects are completed and are concentrated within 2 km buffers around the intervened roads. Neither the richest or the poorest communities reap the benefits from road improvements, with gains accruing to those in the middle of the ranking of communal sections, based on unsatisfied basic needs. Our findings provide novel evidence on the role of transport investments in promoting economic activity in developing countries.

Keywords: Haiti, night-time luminosity, road investments

JEL Classification: O1, O47, R4, D04

Suggested Citation

Mitnik, Oscar A. and Yañez-Pagans, Patricia and Sanchez, Raul, Bright Investments: Measuring the Impact of Transport Infrastructure Using Luminosity Data in Haiti. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3318777

Oscar A. Mitnik (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Patricia Yañez-Pagans

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Raul Sanchez

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

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