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On the Efficient Provision of Roads

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Name of the Asset | On the Efficient Provision of Roads
Type of Asset | Working Paper
Date | September 2009


Badly maintained road networks – or those that cost too much to maintain – tend to increase transportation costs, thereby negatively impacting development. This working paper explores alternatives to improve road provision policies, both under the traditional model and when using public-private partnerships or PPPs.

The working paper outlines the shortcomings of the traditional model vis-à-vis road maintenance in poor countries and suggests solutions to be used for contracting, procurement, governance, financing, and decentralization. It also outlines the potential of public-private partnerships, including from a public finance perspective, and features that constitute an optimal PPP contract.

Not least, the working paper outlines the need for better road quality data, including data about the unit price of road building, an index of local corruption, mechanisms to channel complaints about road quality, the political allegiance of the subnational unit to its government, and central supervisions for the use of public funds for roads.


  • Eduardo Engel, Professor, Department of Economics, Yale University, USA; NBER, USA
  • Ronald Fischer, Profesor Titular, Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial, Universidad de Chile , Chile
  • Alexander Galetovic, Profesor, Universidad de los Andes, Chile

Country and/or Region | Latin America
Name of the Program | Global Research Project 'Varieties of Governance: Effective Public Service Delivery'
Funder(s) | Supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada; and The World Bank.

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