An Impact Evaluation of Investment in Infrastructure: The Case of the Railway Connection in Uzbekistan
This paper discusses the economic effects of the provision of a railway connection in Uzbekistan.
The objective of this paper is to examine the nature and magnitude of the effects of infrastructure provision on regional economic performance. The empirical evidence of our analysis is based on difference-in-difference estimation linking the changes in the growth rate of regional-level economic outcomes in affected regions to the newly built railway connection in the southern part of Uzbekistan, conditioned on the regions’ time-invariant individual effects, time-varying covariates, and evolving economic characteristics. To explore the differential nature of infrastructure provision, we employ an estimation examining regional, spillover, and connectivity effects from the railway connection, as well as the anticipation, launch, and postponed effects of such a connection. Our empirical results suggest that the Tashguzar–Boysun–Kumkurgon railway line in Uzbekistan encouraged an increase of around 2% in the regional gross domestic product growth rate in affected regions in the frame of connectivity effects. This seems to have been driven by increases in industry value added and services value added of approximately 5% and 7%, respectively. Positive and significant changes in the industrial output of the directly affected and neighboring regions mostly took place during the design and construction period in anticipation of the railway connection. The impact on agricultural output has been moderate in comparison to the abovementioned sectors, constituting around 1%, which is consistent with previous literature on the differential impact of public capital. Our results and the framework provided might help regulatory bodies to conduct comprehensive estimations of the impact of infrastructure and develop the formulation of both promotional and compensatory measures related to or induced by the effects of infrastructure provision.