Public Infrastructure Financing - An International Perspective
Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, March 2009
302 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 31, 2009
Historically, governments have played the predominant role in owning and operating infrastructure facilities such as schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, railways, ports, telecommunications networks, and water and electricity supply facilities. However, fiscal policy constraints, growing acceptance of the user-pays principle, and a recognition that there are generally greater incentives for efficiency in the private sector, have driven increased private involvement in the provision of both economic and social infrastructure.
A new Commission Staff Working Paper reports on the experiences of a number of countries using different approaches to funding public infrastructure projects. The countries covered in the study are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. In most countries, general government investment in infrastructure has declined in recent years. Nevertheless, overall investment in infrastructure has remained fairly steady, although volatile in some countries. Total Australian investment in infrastructure was just below 6 per cent of GDP in 2006-07. Sub-national governments undertook 76 per cent of public infrastructure investment, with government trading enterprises (GTEs) accounting for around half of this.
Keywords: infrastructure, finance
JEL Classification: E6, H4, H54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation