Spatial productivity spillovers from public infrastructure: Evidence from state highways

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Amy Ellen Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Is public-sector infrastructure a key determinant of productivity? Traditional, project-based analyses of benefits and costs typically do not find large rates of return. Proponents of infrastructure spending instead point to regressionbased analyses of the links between private productivity and public infrastructure that imply large productivity effects from public spending. The disparity in estimated returns is often attributed to geographic spillovers in productivity benefits that are not captured by disaggregated analyses. We examine the degree to which state highways provide productivity benefits beyond the narrow confines of each state's borders. Despite the fact that state highways-especially the interstate highway system-are designed at least in part with interstate linkages in mind, we find no evidence of quantitatively important productivity spillovers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-468
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Tax and Public Finance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • externalities
  • infrastructure
  • productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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