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Policy Area Papers on Transport

Boosting Infrastructure Investments in Africa
Donald Kaberuka, World Economics, June 2011
The absolute and relative lack of infrastructure in Africa suggests that the continent’s competitiveness could be boosted by scaling up investments in infrastructure. Such investments would facilitate domestic and international trade, enhance Africa’s integration into the global economy and promote better human development outcomes, especially, by bringing unconnected rural communities into the mainstream economy. While there are yawning gaps in all infrastructure subsectors, inadequate energy supply is directly correlated to low education levels, poor health outcomes, as well as limited economic opportunities and technology choices. Efforts by government to invest in infrastructure have proved inadequate to close the infrastructure gap. These investment opportunities have not been seized by the private sector due to the unfavourable business environment, poor incentives and regulatory frameworks. Therefore, Africa’s infrastructure challenge is not only in closing the huge financing gap, but also in building the necessary skills and capacity to attract investments. Although scaling up infrastructure investments offers the private sector enormous opportunities, unlocking these investments should be preceded by appropriate policy and structural reforms. The good news is that there is hope, and current developments are signalling an increased awareness by African governments. Development partners should therefore take advantage of the increasing political will for reform through knowledge and capacity building activities, especially, in fragile and post-conflict countries where the need is greatest.
Should Fuel Taxes Be Scrapped in Favor of Pay-by-the-Mile Charges?
Ian Parry, World Economics, September 2005
This paper discusses the appropriate balance between traditional gasoline taxes and charging by the mile, focusing on economic efficiency considerations. It begins with a brief discussion of the five major passenger vehicle issues of concern—local pollution, greenhouse warming, oil dependency, traffic congestion, and traffic accidents—and summarizes evidence on the dollar value costs of these problems for passenger vehicles in the United States. It then discusses how much fuel taxation might be justified to account for them, as well as how much taxation might be appropriate on fiscal grounds, assuming per mile charges are unavailable. Finally, it discusses to what extent fuel taxation should be replaced with per mile taxes.
Congestion Charging: Utopia vs. Reform
Edward Gottesman, World Economics, June 2003
The debate about road use charging continues. No simple and effective proposal to limit center-city congestion has attracted popular support. The economic case for reducing vehicle congestion in towns and cities is indisputable, as shown in the recent article by Begg and Gray, but their solution could take a generation to implement. The present article proposes using existing infrastructure to create a low-tech, flexible and country-wide method of limiting the use of automobiles in the centers of cities at specified times and in easily defined areas.
Transport, Access and Economic Growth
Karl W. Steininger , World Economics, June 2002
Transport and gross domestic product have grown at roughly a one-to-one relationship in the past. Many decision-makers consider the supply of transport infrastructure an important ingredient in fostering productivity and economic growth; some even consider it a prerequisite. This article analyses the various causal links from transport to economic growth and puts their empirical significance in perspective. The more important challenge for current transport policy, however, is found to be that concerning the reverse linkage, i.e.—given a growing economy—how can we develop a transport system that does not then erode the benefits it created in the first place? Finally, and to that end, a possible future system of sustainable access and mobility service is characterized and policy conclusions are drawn.