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Highway Infrastructure and the Economy

Highway Infrastructure and the Economy: Implications for Federal Policy

Howard J. Shatz
Karin E. Kitchens
Sandra Rosenbloom
Martin Wachs
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 114
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  • Book Info
    Highway Infrastructure and the Economy
    Book Description:

    To inform debate on a new transportation bill being considered, the authors review the literature on the economic outcomes of highway infrastructure spending, which constitutes the largest share of federal spending on transportation infrastructure. They highlight the connections between highway spending and the economy and then analyze the literature to trace the effects of highway infrastructure on productivity, output, and employment.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5225-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
    Dr. Johanna Zmud
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    The United States government has at times premised public investments in highway infrastructure on the belief that such projects contribute to economic growth in the long run. However, the economic effects of highway infrastructure investments remain a matter of debate.

    Politicians and policy analysts are now considering a major new U.S. transportation bill; the previous law expired at the end of fiscal year 2009. And Congress and the president have continued transportation funding through several short-term extensions of prior legislation. This monograph informs the ongoing debate by analyzing the effects of highway infrastructure investment on the economy and drawing conclusions...

  9. CHAPTER TWO The Effects of Highway Infrastructure on Economic Activity
    (pp. 15-42)

    Analysts have attempted to understand the effects of highway infrastructure on a variety of economic outcomes. In this chapter, we conduct a detailed, qualitative review of literature that analyzes quantitatively the relationship between highway infrastructure—including the value of highways, spending on highways, road miles, or other measures—and economic outcomes. Much of this literature in the early and mid-1990s responded to findings by Aschuaer (1989) about a broad measure of public investment in nonmilitary capital from 1949 to 1985. He suggested that a slowdown in that investment was one of the causes of a large slowdown in U.S. productivity...

  10. CHAPTER THREE A Meta-Analysis of the Literature Cited
    (pp. 43-52)

    The studies reviewed in Chapter Two used a variety of different methods, analyzed different types of infrastructure, covered different time periods, focused on different geographic areas, and investigated different types of economic outcomes. To find out how the variation in study design affected the results, we conducted a formal meta-analysis (Stanley and Jarrell, 1989). In such an analysis, results from a broad range of studies are analyzed against the characteristics of those studies. This is done usingregression analysis, a statistical method in which an equation is formed that relates a dependent variable—the variable to be explained—to explanatory...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Conclusions: Policy Implications and Future Research
    (pp. 53-64)

    Many transportation specialists agree that federal transportation policy is in need of fundamental change. Among the many problems is the inability to ensure that federally funded infrastructure projects create net positive economic effects or, more important, net positive national economic effects. At the same time, there is a wide range of opinions about how to effect fundamental change and craft future programs. The most recent national transportation bill expired in October 2009 and Congress has supported federal transportation programs through a series of continuing resolutions and temporary extensions.

    Much current discussion focuses on what to do in the short term...

  12. APPENDIX: A Meta-Analysis of the Papers Reviewed
    (pp. 65-80)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 81-90)