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

March 2019

Remi Jedwab and Adam Storeygard

IIEP Working Paper 2019-8

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 an 30-year elasticity of city population with respect to market access of 0.06–0.18. 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 matters little.

JEL Codes: R11; R12; R4; O18; O20; F15; F16

Keywords: Transportation Infrastructure; Paved Roads; Urbanization; Cities; Africa; Market Access; Trade Costs; Highways; Internal Migration; Heterogeneity

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