In its early years, the World Bank mostly financed large infrastructure projects. After some (probably accurate) criticism over their handling of dams and village displacement, the Bank moved away from these types of projects and towards ones that focused on health, agrarian reform, education, etc.
More recently though the Bank has come full circle and has started to fund more infrastructure projects because there is a realization that these are some of the most effective ones they’ve funded. Personally, I think that infrastructure is an understudied topic in development. It’s clearly crucial to development but it’s something most economists seem to leave to urban planners to solve.
I was reminded of this when I read about Brazilian infrastructure woes with the port of Santos, a city of 530,000 about 40 miles from São Paulo. Santos is the continent’s largest seaport and the incredible growth in commerce (particularly in soybeans) is…
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