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Understanding Public Spending Trends for Infrastructure in Developing Countries (English)

Evidence of public expenditure on infrastructure is extremely sparse. Little is known about the trends and patterns of infrastructure expenditure, and there is no real basis for assessing the adequacy and efficiency of infrastructure spending. Drawing on the World Bank’s novel BOOST database, this paper provides a first relatively disaggregated picture of infrastructure spending trends and patterns for a large sample of more than 70 developing countries covering 2010–18, drilling down into expenditure by sector for roads as well as electricity, and distinguishing operating from capital expenditure. Complementary sources of data are tapped to allow comparison between expenditure patterns on and off budget. The study finds that on-budget expenditure on infrastructure has been low both in absolute terms (1 percent of gross domestic product) and relative terms (5 percent of total public spending), as well as declining over time. Overall, infrastructure spending declined by about one-third over 2010–18 (with the road sector bearing the brunt of the decrease), and now lies well below estimates of the required levels, except in a handful of cases. There is evidence that low-income countries, despite lower spending envelopes, attach greater priority to public investment and infrastructure spending than their middle-income counterparts. Econometric analysis suggests that infrastructure spending in low- and middle-income countries has been historically procyclical, although to a lesser degree than total expenditure. In the transport sector, road funds are shown to play a substantial role in funding road maintenance, appearing to improve the adequacy of funding, while attenuating pronounced capital biases in road sector spending, but there is little evidence of efficiency improvements over time.

Details

  • Author

    Foster,Vivien, Rana,Anshul, Gorgulu,Nisan

  • Document Date

    2022/01/14

  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

  • Report Number

    WPS9903

  • Volume No

    1

  • Total Volume(s)

    1

  • Country

    World,

  • Region

    The World Region,

  • Disclosure Date

    2022/01/14

  • Disclosure Status

    Disclosed

  • Doc Name

    Understanding Public Spending Trends for Infrastructure in Developing Countries

  • Keywords

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Citation

Foster,Vivien Rana,Anshul Gorgulu,Nisan

Understanding Public Spending Trends for Infrastructure in Developing Countries (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9903 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/727991642167519238/Understanding-Public-Spending-Trends-for-Infrastructure-in-Developing-Countries