Infrastructure gap in South Asia: inequality of access to infrastructure services

Authored by: Dan Biller , Luis Andrés , Matías Herrera Dappe

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Development in Asia

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138182189
eBook ISBN: 9781351008204
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351008204-13

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Abstract

Dan Biller, Luis Andrés, and Matías Herrera Dappe describe, in “Infrastructure gap in South Asia,” the importance of access to basic infrastructure services with regard to welfare and the quality of life contrasted with the South Asia region’s low rates of access to infrastructure. The challenge of increasing access to these services across the South Asian region is compounded by the unequal distribution of existing access for households. This study improves understanding of this inequality by evaluating access across the region’s physical (location), poverty, and income considerations. The chapter also analyzes inequality of access across time-that is, across generations. It finds that while the regressivity of infrastructure services is clearly present in South Asia, the story that emerges is heterogeneous and complex. There is no simple explanation for these inequalities; although certainly geography matters, some household characteristics (such as living in a rural area with a head of household who lacks education) matter, and policy intent matters. If a poorer country or a poorer state can have better access to a given infrastructure service than a richer country or a richer state, then there is hope that policy makers can adopt measures that will improve access in a manner in which prosperity is more widely shared.

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