Investing in public infrastructure: Roads versus schools

Manoj Atolia, Bin Grace Li, Ricardo Marto and Giovanni Melina analyse this long standing debate. 

Education is a long term benefit but impact of roads is seen over a shorter term. Thus roads get preference:


3 Responses to “Investing in public infrastructure: Roads versus schools”

  1. Prabhu Guptara Says:

    It is not only finance for schools that matters.

    Even more important is ensuring that the money that is invested is well spent – i.e. what happens IN schools.

    Most of our schools (including some of our highest-ranked ones) are contributing to individual technical excellence at the cost of moral values.

    Certainly at the cost of the development of our country.

    For the general point, see the text of my presentation to the 100th anniversary conference of the Association of Commonwealth Universities – freely available on the internet.

    For a rather thorough and detaied discussion, including empirical evidence, see forthcoming research publication by Suzana Brinkmann from Delhi.

  2. Prabhu Guptara Says:

    Similarly, on roads:

    What matters is not only that money is spent, but that it is spent well.

    Most roads that are built in India are of sadly poor quality, mainly because corruption ensures that substandard materials are used.

    Also that the official specifications (which may anyway be inadequate – I don’t know) are not adhered to.

    In other words, the question is: how much of the money goes into the roads, and how much into the pockets of bureaucrats and “road-builders”?

    The result is that roads, very soon after they are built, and certainly after the monsoons, deterioirate – with plenty of potholes in the middle, and the edges disappearing entirely.

  3. Leandra Sconce Says:

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