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Policy and Planning for Large-Infrastructure Projects: Problems, Causes, Cures

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Document pages: 21 pages

Abstract: This paper focuses on problems and their causes and cures in policy and planning for large-infrastructure projects. First, it identifies as the main problem in major infrastructure developments pervasive misinformation about the costs, benefits, and risks involved. A consequence of misinformation is cost overruns, benefit shortfalls, and waste. Second, it explores the causes of misinformation and finds that political-economic explanations best account for the available evidence: planners and promoters deliberately misrepresent costs, benefits, and risks in order to increase the likelihood that it is their projects, and not those of their competition, that gain approval and funding. This results in the `survival of the unfittest , in which often it is not the best projects that are built, but the most misrepresented ones. Finally, it presents measures for reforming policy and planning for large-infrastructure projects with a focus on better planning methods and changed governance structures, the latter being more important. This paper won the Prize for Best Published Paper, awarded by the Association of European Schools of Planning, 2008. Listed as "Most Downloaded " article on the journal s home page. Listed on SSRN s Top Ten Download List for Infrastructure.

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