The political economy of major infrastructure in the UK

Coelho, Miguel Castro and Dellepiane, Sebastian (2016) The political economy of major infrastructure in the UK. Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, 39 (3). pp. 105-125. ISSN 2046-5378

[thumbnail of FEC_39_3_2016_CoelhoMDellepianeS]
Text. Filename: FEC_39_3_2016_CoelhoMDellepianeS.pdf
Final Published Version

Download (576kB)| Preview


Evidence has been accumulating that UK infrastructure is under enormous pressure and is holding back economic growth. Although these problems have been receiving increasing attention from media and political commentators, there has been little effort to understand systematically their policy and institutional roots. This paper fills this gap by examining the political economy of infrastructure policy and presenting a series of case studies to illustrate our theoretical predictions. We find evidence that the British political system amplifies the risk of policy failure around infrastructure in the form of short-sightedness, policy instability, a weak evidence base and a lack of public consent.