Despite infrastructure being the dominant expenditure category of most governments in the developing world (as well of multilateral and bilateral development organisations), we have a very limited understanding of whether and how infrastructure investments affect poverty and development. Two projects focused on India and East Africa will attempt to fill this key gap in our knowledge. In the first we will build a database of Indian districts for the period 1870-2000 which will enable us to examine the mechanisms in which railway and bank branch expansion affect poverty and development by, promoting growth and diversification, and by mitigating shocks. This research will illuminate the precise pathways in which infrastructural investments influence wider development outcomes. The second project will create a panel district data set for seven East African countries for the period 1950-2000 to look at the political economy of road placement. Specifically, we will use detailed maps to trace out the evolution of district road networks across this period. We will then relate road density both to the birthplace and ethnic identity of politicians. The transition from Independence and subsequent political transitions will enable us to see whether better represented districts receive greater investments in roads of different types.
London School of Economics & Pol Sci
Robin Stuart Burgess