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Priority Roads: the Political Economy of Africa’s Interior-to-Coast Roads

Roberto Bonfatti (), Yuan Gu and Steven Poelhekke

No 215, OxCarre Working Papers from Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford

Abstract: Africa’s interior-to-coast roads are well suited 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 across the 1965-2012 period. Controlling for ge¬ography and the endogeneity of democratization, we show that autocracies tend to connect natural resource deposits to ports, while the networks expanded in a less interior-to-coast way in periods of democracy. This result suggests that Africa’s interior-to-coast roads are at least in part the result of suboptimal political distortions.

Keywords: political economy; democracy; infrastructure; natural resources; development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H54 O18 P16 P26 Q32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-01-22
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-pol
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:215

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