Priority Roads: The Political Economy of Africa's Interior-to-Coast Roads

53 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2020

See all articles by Roberto Bonfatti

Roberto Bonfatti

University of Padua - Department of Economics

Yuan Gu

APG Asset Management

Steven Poelhekke

University of Auckland

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 1, 2020

Abstract

Africa's interior-to-coast roads are well placed to export natural resources, but not to support regional trade. Are they the optimal response to geography and comparative advantage, or the result of suboptimal political distortions? We investigate the political determinants of road paving in West Africa in 1965-2014. Controlling for geography and comparative advantage, we find that autocracies focused more than democracies on connecting metal and mineral deposits to ports, resulting in more interior-to-coast networks. This deposit-to-port bias was only present for deposits located on the elite's ethnic homeland, suggesting that Africa's interior-to-coast roads were the result of ethnic favoritism by autocracies.

Keywords: democracy, Development, infrastructure, Natural resources, political economy

JEL Classification: D72, H54, O18, P16, P26, Q32

Suggested Citation

Bonfatti, Roberto and Gu, Yuan and Poelhekke, Steven, Priority Roads: The Political Economy of Africa's Interior-to-Coast Roads (October 1, 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15354, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3723543

Roberto Bonfatti

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
Padova, 35123
Italy

Yuan Gu

APG Asset Management ( email )

Gustav Mahlerplein 3
Amsterdam, 1082 MS
Netherlands

Steven Poelhekke (Contact Author)

University of Auckland ( email )

Auckland
New Zealand

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/stevenpoelhekke/

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