How Does India’s Rural Roads Program Affect the Grassroots? Findings from a Survey in Upland Orissa

Clive Bell and Susanne van Dillen


This paper analyzes the effects of all weather rural roads on households’ net output prices, education, and health in a poor region of India. Cross-section and before-and-after comparisons yield these findings: (1) net output prices were 5% or more higher; (2) fewer days of schooling were lost due to bad weather, largely because teachers had fewer absences; (3) the acutely sick received timelier treatment and more frequently in a hospital than the nearest primary clinic; and (4) respondents ranked the resulting benefits in the domains of health and education at least as highly as the “commercial” ones. (JEL O12, O18)

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