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Equity vs. Efficiency: Public Capital Investment in Ohio, 1988–1992

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Recent research on the role of public capital in the economy focuses primarily on assessing its economic, and sometimes spatial economic, impacts. Access to more detailed and disaggregate data than typically used in these analyses allows us to take a fresh perspective on the often conflicting goals of interregional equity and aggregate efficiency. Using the state of Ohio as a case study, and classic definitions of equity and efficiency, we assess the correspondence between distributions of infrastructure investment and the social/economic distress they are intended to alleviate. Traditional map and statistical analysis combined with a graphical device we call the variegated distribution plot reveals that, in both rates and levels, investment is highest in areas of greatest distress. Both patterns are consistent with equity-driven investment distributions.

Keywords: Infrastructure; data visualization; investment policy; socioeconomic welfare

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Ohio State University

Publication date: 1999-05-01

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