CoPS/IMPACT Working Paper Number G-152

Title: Regional Macroeconomic Outcomes Under Alternative Arrangements for the Financing of Urban Infrastructure

Authors: James Giesecke, Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer


Many studies have found that the economic benefits from investment in urban infrastructure are substantial. In Australia, much of the responsibility for the provision of urban infrastructure rests with regional governments. Throughout the1990's many of these governments embarked on a program of fiscal restraint, seeking to restore financial positions weakened by exposure to failed government enterprises. A large proportion of this fiscal adjustment appears to have been borne by spending on public infrastructure. Today, regional government policy attention is again focussing on public infrastructure. In spite of the now robust fiscal positions of Australia's regional governments, they remain reluctant to finance infrastructure through debt, and raising the rates of existing taxes is perceived as politically unpopular. Instead, governments are exploring alternative financing instruments, such as developer charges and public-private partnerships. This paper uses a dynamic multi-regional CGE model (MMRF) to evaluate the regional macroeconomic consequences of four methods of financing a program of regional government infrastructure provision. The methods are developer charges, debt, payroll tax and residential rates. We demonstrate that the net gains from a program of urban infrastructure development are quite sensitive to the chosen financing means. The net gains tend to be greatest under rates and debt financing, and least under developer charges.

JEL classification: D58, R13, R51, R53

Please cite the later published version in:
Papers in Regional Science, Vol 87(1), March 2008, pp. 3-31.

Keywords: multi-regional CGE, dynamic CGE, infrastructure finance,regional policy

Working Paper Number G-152 can be downloaded in PDF format.

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