African growth looking forward

Marco Annunziata 16 August 2014

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Views on Africa’s growth prospects have jumped from utter pessimism to extreme enthusiasm. The latter has been centre-stage with the US–Africa Summit hosted in Washington DC from 4–6 August 2014, with the participation of top political and business leaders. My coauthors Todd Johnson and Shlomi Kramer and I have tried to take a sober assessment of Africa’s progress and prospects, looking beyond the current hype and the inevitable frustration that doing business in the region still generates (Annunziata et al. 2014).

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  development, growth, Africa, human capital, trade, innovation, infrastructure, commodity boom

Football in the time of protest

Nauro F Campos 13 June 2014

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Football is actually coming home. Brazil is the spiritual home of the ‘beautiful game’. It is the only country to have competed in all 20 World Cup tournaments, it has won the tournament a record five times, and it is the only country to have won the tournament ‘away’ (Ponzo and Scoppa 2014).1 Brazilians worship football. As in all previous World Cups, the country will stop when the Seleção plays. Unlike all other Cups, however, this time there may be protests.

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Topics:  Institutions and economics Politics and economics

Tags:  Corruption, Political Economy, soccer, rent-seeking, Football, Brazil, infrastructure, sport, protests, FIFA

Roads to deeper European integration

Henrik Braconier, Mauro Pisu 20 February 2014

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Over the past 60 years, increasing European integration has brought peace and security, besides contributing to large social welfare gains (through lower prices and a larger variety of products). Still, national borders matter a lot within Europe and a vast literature has documented the large negative effect of national borders on trade – also known as the border effect (Nitsch 2000, Head and Mayer 2000, Anderson and van Wincoop 2003, de Serres et al. 2001, Chen 2004).

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Topics:  International trade

Tags:  trade costs, infrastructure

US electrification in the 1930s

Carl Kitchens 29 January 2014

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In 1930, fewer than 10% of farms in the US had access to electricity. By the mid-1950s, almost every farm in the country had electricity. While the US was able to extend electricity to its rural locations rapidly over a 25-year period, much of the developing world still remains without electricity today. In 2012, 1.3 billion people lived without electricity worldwide.

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Topics:  Development Economic history

Tags:  growth, Agriculture, technology, investment, subsidies, electricity, infrastructure, electrification

Transport infrastructure and market integration: Lessons from the British industrial revolution

Liam Brunt, Edmund Cannon 27 July 2013

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For many years, the EU has prioritised the funding of large-scale transport infrastructure projects. Between 2007 and 2013 alone, the Trans-European Transport Network programme funded 348 projects at a cost of €7billion (TEN-T Executive Agency 2013). The goal of this investment has been to increase the integration of European markets. There is an interesting analogy here to Britain during the Industrial Revolution – when the advent of a turnpike road network (1760s), canal network (1790s) and railway network (1840s) changed the face of British transport (Bogart 2013).

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Topics:  Economic history

Tags:  EU, infrastructure

New roads to export: Insights from the Inca roads

Jerónimo Carballo, Christian Volpe Martincus, Ana Cusolito 13 July 2013

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In policy circles domestic transport infrastructure is seen as a key determinant of exports. More precisely, among policymakers, there is a well rooted idea according to which new roads can generate increased exports. Statements in official documents introducing public export plans of developed and developing countries alike are illustrative in this regard. The report presenting the US National Export Initiative 2011 is a clear example.

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Topics:  International trade

Tags:  infrastructure, Export, Peru

Infrastructure: The governance failures

Nicklas Garemo, Jan Mischke 30 March 2013

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Europe’s infrastructure programme was the big loser from February’s EU budget deal. Planned infrastructure investment of €50 billion over seven years was reduced to just €24 billion. Among the programmes that now look in doubt is the Connecting Europe Facility, which included financial support for the development of cross-European transport, cleaner energy supply, and fast broadband connections, and was designed to catalyse private investment in all three, too.

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Topics:  Industrial organisation Politics and economics

Tags:  governance, infrastructure

Can passenger railways curb road-traffic externalities? Empirical evidence

Rafael Lalive, Simon Luechinger, Armin Schmutzler 15 March 2013

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Road accidents kill 1.2m people every year (WHO). Road transportation is the main source of local air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. It contributes to noise and global air pollution, and it leads to congestion. Against this backdrop, many governments subsidise railways with the explicit aim of reducing road-traffic externalities. However, do improvements in public transport really curb road-traffic externalities? In this column, we discuss recent empirical evidence identifying positive effects of public-transport improvements.

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Topics:  Environment Frontiers of economic research Productivity and Innovation

Tags:  externalities, pollution, infrastructure, railways, trains

Highway to success in India

Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr 05 February 2013

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Transport investments within cities and across cities are essential for economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. Beyond simply facilitating cheaper and more efficient movements of goods, people, and ideas within cities, transport affects the distribution of economic activity across cities. Many researchers have shown that transport investment plays an important role in spatial development and urbanisation. Henderson et al. (2001) find that industrial decentralisation in South Korea is attributable to massive transport and communications infrastructure investments.

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  India, infrastructure, highways, roads, Golden Quadrilateral

The privatisation of infrastructure: One size does not fit all

Alexis Maingard, Laura Recuero Virto 16 September 2011

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he wave of infrastructure privatisations that occurred from the 1980s onwards has led to very different sectoral outcomes across the world (Bortolotti and Siniscalco 2004). For the case of fixed-line telecommunications, in OECD countries privatisations have resulted in higher labour efficiency. By contrast, in non-OECD countries privatisations have mainly increased residential tariffs.

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Topics:  Development Institutions and economics Politics and economics

Tags:  privatisation, infrastructure

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