Providing quality infrastructure in rural villages : the case of rural roads in China

Ho Lun WONG, Renfu LUO, Linxiu ZHANG, Scott ROZELLE

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


When seeking to build high quality and cost-effective infrastructure in rural villages, a fundamental question is: Who is better at doing so? Should the village leadership or a government agency above the village finance and/or manage the construction of the infrastructure project? To answer this question, we surveyed all rural road projects in 101 villages in rural China between 2003 and 2007 and measured the quality and per kilometer cost of each road. According to our analysis, road quality was higher when more of the project funds came from the government agency above. Moreover, projects had lower cost per kilometer when the village leaders managed the road construction. Overall, our findings suggest that to build high quality and cost-effective rural roads village leaders and government agencies should collaborate and each specialize in a specific project role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-274
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Early online date13 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

The authors want to acknowledge the financial assistance of the Natural Science Foundation of China (nos.71033003, 70225003 and 70024001), the World Bank, Ford Foundation, Canadian International Development Agency and the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011RC102).


  • Decentralization
  • Project finance
  • Project management
  • Quality infrastructure
  • Road quality
  • Rural China


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