Public investment in rural infrastructure: Some political economy considerations

Moussa P. Blimpo, Robin Harding, Leonard Wantchekon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We have constructed a unique dataset to study the extent of the relationship between political marginalisation,public investment in transport infrastructure, and food security in Benin, Ghana, Mali and Senegal.We first showa strong relation between food securityand road infrastructures after controlling forother factorsknowntoaffectfoodsecurity, includingclimateandland productivity.To trace a potentialmechanism by which politicalmarginalisation impacts on food security,wethenlookat its relationwiththeallocationof roadswithin countries. We find support for the argument that political factors affect the location of roads after controlling for the economic importance of the areas, as well as many other factors. This finding is robust to a number of alternative specifications. We conclude that politically marginalised areas have significantly fewer roads, thus supporting our claim that political marginalisation indirectly affects food security, by undermining the quality and the allocation of transport infrastructures. Although we do not establish a causal effect here, this study is the first to empirically substantiate this relationship at themicro-level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-83
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of African Economies
Issue numberSUPPLEMENT2
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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