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infrastructure 1

  The underlying structure of services and amenities (social overhead capital: SOC) needed to facilitate directly productive activity (DPA). Examples include public services, transport, telecommunications, public utilities, public environmental installations, human capital investment installations and social and community facilities.

Infrastructure tends to be immobile, labour intensive, indivisible, open of access and to have economy-wide effects. There is considerable argument (Hirschman, 1958; Hodder and Lee, 1974) over the extent to which infrastructural investment is a sufficient (or even a necessary) precondition for economic development; whether it should be provided before development in the form of excess capacity or whether scarce resources should be devoted primarily to DPA, so allowing bottlenecks to build up as a result of the under-provision of SOC; and whether it should be publicly or privately owned. (RL)

References and Suggested Reading Hirschman, A.O. 1958: The strategy of economic development. New Haven: Yale University Press. Hodder, B.W. and Lee, R. 1974: Economic geography. London: Methuen, 148-55. Raviolis, A. and Spence, N. 1998: Promoting regional economic growth in Greece by investing in public infrastructure. Environment and Planning C. Vickerman, R.W. 1991: Infrastructure and regional development. London: Pion.



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Other Terms : Brenner debate | commodity | extensive agriculture
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