Paving dirt roads and building highway networks have unsurprisingly been shown to produce substantial economic gains, but what is the impact on domestic trade from improving existing road networks? Using spatially disaggregated data on major capacity upgrades of existing road networks and domestic transactions in Turkey, this column, originally published at VoxEU, estimates a large positive impact of reduced travel times on trade and regional employment, and long-run aggregate real income gains of 2-3%.
Investment in transport infrastructure can improve a country’s growth prospects by facilitating trade. This column reports the findings of research on the impact of a major programme of road upgrades in Turkey from the early 2000s, which converted many two-lane undivided roads into dual carriageways. Trade both within the country and with other countries has benefited significantly from these improvements.