Skip to Main Navigation

Roads, Electricity, and Jobs: Evidence of Infrastructure Complementarity in Sub-Saharan Africa (English)

Evidence for road expansion and electrification as drivers of job creation is limited and mixed, with most studies having considered either one or the other, and only in isolation. This paper estimates the average and heterogeneous impacts of road and electricity investments and the interaction of the two on job creation over the past two decades in 27 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Exploiting the exogenous location of ancestral ethnic homelands, a new instrumental variable is created for road accessibility, inspired by post-independence leaders' agenda of building roads to extend authority over the entire expanse of their country, and to promote nation building. Topography and lightning strikes—a key source of damage to electric lines and disruption of service—are used to instrument electricity supply. The paper finds positive and significant effects on employment from enhancing proximity to roads and to electric grids. Moreover, the interaction of the two enhances the effects, making them complementary investments. The impacts of both individual and bundled investments are positive, but with differences between men and women, workers of various ages, and countries at different stages of development. In urban areas, better access to roads and electricity promotes all types of employment. In rural areas, greater access induces a transition from low- to high-skilled occupations. These differential effects suggest that the structural transformation brought about by road and electricity expansion is primarily a rural phenomenon.


  • Author

    Abbasi ,Mansoureh, Lebrand,Mathilde Sylvie Maria, Mongoue,Arcady Bluette, Pongou,Roland, Zhang,Fan

  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country


  • Region


  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Roads, Electricity, and Jobs: Evidence of Infrastructure Complementarity in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Keywords

    Demographic and Health Survey; electricity grid; main road; instrumental variable; Road Networks; local labor market condition; IS Building; electric grid; ethnic group; Job Creation; ethnic homeland; investment in road; impact of road; impacts of infrastructure; Access to Electricity; Type of Investment; cost of construction; investments in infrastructure; household survey data; local economic growth; increase productivity; control of land; elasticity of output; built road; movement of people; local economic activity; number of jobs; quality of employment; impacts on employment; households with electricity; major road construction; demand for labor; quality of job; cost of transportation; human capital accumulation; skill and jobs; enhancing market access; access to job; quality employment; rural road improvement; collection of information; supply of electricity; million people; working age population; structure of employment; main road network; disruption of service; electric power line; instrumental variable estimation; rural area; low-skilled worker; time t; labor supply; road access; transportation infrastructure; greater access; electricity lines; unskilled worker; political power; nation building; employment outcome; manufacturing sector; construction cost; manual labor; new highway; electricity network; endogenous regressor; rural transportation infrastructure; positive marginal; older worker; skilled job; skilled occupation; relative demand; national integration; demand-side factor; transportation network; import competition; remote area; land elevation; mean distance; employment pattern; power outage; education outcome; survey sample; good road; rural location; highway network; independent variable; rural region; temporal variation; market accessibility; average temperature; conceptual framework; recent studies; political instability; road expansion; geographical instrument; rural phenomenon; exogenous variable; local production; domestic work; market integration; least-cost path; clerical occupation; net output; survey respondent; subsistence farming; satellite data; road type; electricity access; rural village; urban market; negative relationship; social planner; labor mobility; urban level; negative correlation; agricultural worker; medium voltage; infrastructure program; global population; employment expansion; electricity investment; complementary investment; improving competitiveness; recovery period; population group; empirical analysis; household access; electrical infrastructure; skill development; job market; road infrastructure; distribution line; good health; light source; satellite imagery; Open Data; grid use; global power; empirical model; Public Infrastructure; composite map; road development; product market; labor reallocation; rural residence; urban context; positive spillover; negative spillover; agricultural employment; Research Support; road investment; remote location; high transport; weather variations; local demand; import demand; domestic employment; partial equilibrium; primarily use; empirical work; road connection; average age; employment share; secondary level; empirical study; agricultural sector; spatial information; employment creation; wage labor; local population; social impact; external data; necessary infrastructure; health status; endogenous variable; socioeconomic status; subnational levels; positive correlation; Ethnic Minorities; transportation cost; first stage; geographic characteristic; agriculture sector; average household; subsistence agriculture; lead industry; economic specialization; middle age; ethnic heterogeneity; baseline model; road accessibility; baseline regression; research design; political characteristics; land use; young adult; new roads; open access; cropland expansion; spatial variation; city population; productive capital; skilled labor; road link; unskilled occupations; agricultural product; colonial powers; exclusion restriction; colonial era; roads use



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Abbasi ,Mansoureh Lebrand,Mathilde Sylvie Maria Mongoue,Arcady Bluette Pongou,Roland Zhang,Fan

Roads, Electricity, and Jobs: Evidence of Infrastructure Complementarity in Sub-Saharan Africa (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9976 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.