Edited by Biswa Nath Bhattacharyay, Masahiro Kawai and Rajat M. Nag
Chapter 4: Socio-economic impact of regional transport infrastructure in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Infrastructure development has an important role to play in economic development and poverty alleviation in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). This chapter attempts to measure the links between infrastructure investment and poverty reduction using a multiregion general equilibrium model, supplemented with household survey data. Specifically, it examines how improvements in road infrastructure and the potential trade facilitation impacts of the regional transport infrastructure agreement may impact household incomes in the GMS. The GMS comprises Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). At the time of the inauguration of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program (1992), most of the region’s infrastructure was of a very poor quality (Ishida 2007). In response to this, the GMS adopted the Transport Master Plan in 1995, which identified priority transport links – mostly road projects – designed to generate the greatest and most immediate improvements in connectivity. This was an important step in economic development, with improvements in transportation infrastructure boosting economic opportunities throughout the region by significantly reducing travel times and costs. As the countries have moved away from a strategy of self-sufficiency to one of regional cooperation, major efforts have been made to develop the infrastructure linking the GMS and beyond, particularly through the identification of ambitious economic corridor projects.
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