Riccardo Faini CEIS Seminars

Priority Roads: the Political Economy of Connecting Mines
December, 07th 2018 (12:00-13:30)
Room B - 1st floor

Roberto Bonfatti (Università di Padova and University of Notthingam)

Riccardo Faini CEIS Seminars

joint with Juan Gu and Steven Poelhekke

Africa's interior-to-coast roads are well suited to export natural resources, but not to support domestic and regional trade. Are they the optimal response to geography and comparative advantage, or the result of political distortions? To answer this question, we investigate the political determinants of road networks in West Africa in 1965-2012. Controlling for country fixed effects and thus for geography, we show that the networks expanded in a less interior-to-coast way in periods of democracy, and this is robust to instrumenting for democracy. This result suggests that Africa's interior-to-coast roads are at least in part the result of political distortions.