Bridges Between Villages in Nicaragua Serve as Links to Markets


EGC researcher Kevin Donovan and coauthor find that building footbridges positively affects rural economies in flood-prone areas.

Many residents of flood-prone areas of rural Nicaragua face uncertain economic futures each season. In a new paper, EGC faculty affiliate Kevin Donovan and co-author Wyatt Brooks of Arizona State University examine the role of footbridges in providing rural households reliable access to larger and higher-paying urban labor markets. They find that bridge construction increases integration, leading to substantial positive economic impact on rural economies.

The paper underscores the increased benefits of rural integration in the context where income is derived both from farming and labor markets – a common feature of households in developing countries. Moreover, it analyzes the spillover effects of improved access to the labor market on the agricultural economy and shows that bridges might have a compounding positive impact: not only does labor income rise, but agricultural investment increases along with increased profits.

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