Infrastructure, Economic Growth, and Poverty: A Review

43 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020 Last revised: 1 Jun 2020

See all articles by Govinda R. Timilsina

Govinda R. Timilsina

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Gal Hochman

Rutgers University; University of California, Berkeley

Ze Song

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Camden

Date Written: May 1, 2020


How much an economy should invest in its physical infrastructure is a crucial question being asked by policy makers from developing countries where financial resources for economic development are limited. This paper aims to address this question by bringing insights from the literature that investigates the relationship between infrastructure investment, economic growth, and poverty alleviation. The study shows that there is no consensus among the existing studies, which are mostly focused on industrialized economies, on the relationship between public investment and economic growth. Studies that investigate the relationship between physical infrastructure and economic growth mostly conclude that there exists a positive relationship. This is also true between physical infrastructure and income inequality, as reported by a few studies. This study also identifies many gaps in the literature and highlights the need for further studies to narrow them.

Keywords: Economic Theory & Research, Industrial Economics, Economic Growth, Poverty Reduction Strategies, Inequality, Infrastructure and Law, Infrastructure Economics, Infrastructure Regulation, Infrastructure Finance, Transport Services

Suggested Citation

Timilsina, Govinda R. and Hochman, Gal and Song, Ze, Infrastructure, Economic Growth, and Poverty: A Review (May 1, 2020). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9258, Available at SSRN:

Govinda R. Timilsina (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Gal Hochman

Rutgers University ( email )

New Jersey
United States
(848) 932-9142 (Phone)


University of California, Berkeley ( email )

340 Giannini Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
(510) 289-0907 (Phone)


Ze Song

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Camden ( email )

Camden, NJ 08102
United States

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