A Database of World Infrastructure Stocks, 1950-95

44 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by David Canning

David Canning

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Date Written: June 1998


Canning describes an annual database of physical infrastructure stocks for a cross-section of 152 countries for 1950-95. The database contains six measures: ° Kilometers of roads. ° Kilometers of paved roads. ° Kilometers of railway lines. ° Number of telephones. ° Number of telephone main lines. ° KW of electricity generating capacity.

The database includes some measures of infrastructure quality (percentage of roads in poor condition, percentage of local phone calls that are unsuccessful, percentage of availability of diesel locomotives, and percentage of electricity lost from the system), but only for recent years. Canning examines correlation patterns and reports regressions relating infrastructure stocks to country population, per capita GDP, land area, and the urbanization ratio. The relationship between infrastructure and economic growth is examined in a preliminary way.

He reports that: ° Nontransportation infrastructure stocks tend to increase one-for-one with population but increase more than proportionately with per capita GDP. ° Geographic factors (area, urbanization ratio) appear to affect the provision of nontransportation infrastructure in poor countries but not in rich countries. ° Transportation infrastructure appears to increase less than proportionately with population, and increases with income only after a middle-income threshold has been reached. ° Geographic factors seem to influence the length of total roads and rail lines but not of paved roads.

Panel unit root tests indicate that the log infrastructure stock per capita series are nonstationary and have a unit root. Cross-section growth regressions show our common worldwide estimated regression results suggest that having a greater number of telephone main lines per capita has a positive effect on economic growth.

The data set is available in downloadable form at the World Bank Website. The specific address for the data set is : http://www.worldbank.org/html/dec/Publications/Workpapers/WPS1900series/wps1929/canning1.xls. The data set consists of 11 Microsoft Excel 97 spreadsheets in a single file of about 550 kilobytes.

This paper - sponsored jointly by the Public Economics Division, Development Research Group, and Transport, Water, and Urban Development Department - is part of a multi-country panel study of infrastructure and growth. The study was funded by the Bank's Research Support Budget under the research project Infrastructure and Growth: A Multi-Country Panel Study (RPO 680-89).

Suggested Citation

Canning, David, A Database of World Infrastructure Stocks, 1950-95 (June 1998). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=604972

David Canning (Contact Author)

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health ( email )

677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States