Economically Efficient Composition of Rural Infrastructure Investment
Burton, Mark | Wilson, Wesley W.
Public sentiment routinely supports public-sector investment in infrastructure. Moreover, this view exists in both rural and metropolitan settings. Often, government is expected to directly support or, at least, guide the provision of transportation, telecommunications, and various utility services by supplying some or all of the necessary facilities. The current paper, first develops a more precise economic explanation for why public-sector infrastructure investment is economically efficient public policy. Next, by specifically accounting for the spatial nature of network infrastructures and commerce, we describe why many necessary investments must be sited in and/or available to rural communities. Finally, with an admittedly speculative eye to the future, we offer tentative forecasts regarding the nature and value of efficient, forward-looking rural infrastructure outcomes.Show more [+] Less [-]