Infrastructure, integration and equity: The social impact of the health and public transportation infrastructure.
Academicians and practitioners generally agree that there is a positive correlation between more and better infrastructure and economic growth. From the broader perspective of development, attempts have been made in the literature to identify the different theoretical connections and the empirical patterns that link infrastructure to productivity, on the one hand, and those that link it to social inclusion and equity, on the other hand. Infrastructure contributes to development in different ways. The capital involved is not homogeneous, nor is its effect on the distributive aspects. Water and sanitation have a particularly strong association with the health of the general population and with infant mortality, early childhood health, learning abilities and the acquisition of labour skills. With respect to transportation, the reduction of costs and travel times has a direct economic impact on economic activities of production and domestic and international distribution. That infrastructure also has a social and distributive role to play by reducing the number of fatal accidents and serious injuries in the sectors that are naturally most susceptible to them, namely, the poor. Under the broad umbrella of infrastructure, we can include a number of facilities that make possible the provision of certain services. Some of these facilities require very significant fixed capital investments; some of them are residential, while others are not necessarily. What they all have in common is the existence of networks (transportation, wiring, pipelines) and a strong convergence of physical capital and/or technology, as well as the need for major investments in periodic maintenance.