The Average and Heterogeneous Effects of Transportation Investments: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa 1960-2010

49 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Remi Jedwab

Remi Jedwab

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Adam Storeygard

Tufts University

Date Written: August 2020

Abstract

Previous work on transportation investments has focused on average impacts in high- and middle-income countries. We estimate average and heterogeneous effects in a poor continent, Africa, using roads and cities data spanning 50 years in 39 countries. Using changes in market access due to distant road construction as a source of exogenous variation, we estimate a 30-year elasticity of city population with respect to market access of about 0.08-0.13. Our results suggest that this elasticity is stronger for small and remote cities, and weaker in politically favored and agriculturally suitable areas. Access to foreign cities besides international ports matters little. Additional evidence points suggestively to rural-urban migration as the primary source of this population increase, though we cannot fully rule out natural increase or reallocation across cities.

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Suggested Citation

Jedwab, Remi and Storeygard, Adam, The Average and Heterogeneous Effects of Transportation Investments: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa 1960-2010 (August 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27670, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675221

Remi Jedwab (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, D.C., DC
United States

Adam Storeygard

Tufts University ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

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