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CEP discussion paper
Take the highway? Paved roads and well-being in Africa
Andrew E. Clark, Conchita D'Ambrosio and Elodie Djemaï
April 2021
Paper No' CEPDP1761:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D63; I32; O18

Tags: roads; subjective well-being; basic needs; material deprivation; africa

Public Goods aim to improve individual welfare. We investigate the causal consequences of roads on well-being in 24 African countries, instrumenting paved roads by 19th Century hypothetical lines between major ports and cities. We have data on over 32000 individuals, and consider both their objective and subjective well-being. Roads reduce material deprivation, in terms of access to basic needs, but at the same time there is no relation between roads and subjective living conditions. The benefit of roads in providing basic needs then seems to be offset by worse outcomes in non basic-needs domains.