Hidden in the weeds behind assessments of all large-scale infrastructure investments are three fundamental policy issues. The first relates to the impacts of such investments on economic and financial performance, such as productivity improvement, payback period, and financial and economic rate of return. The second issue touches upon the impacts of large-scale infrastructure investments on economic structure, focusing on the role of such investments in shaping future patterns of economic transition including urbanization and sectoral advantage as reflected in urban scale and density. The third issue, often overlooked and under-appreciated, is concerned with the opportunities brought about by large-scale infrastructure investments in advancing a national, regional or local innovation system. We use the High Speed Rail investments in China to appreciate the ways in which large-scale infrastructure investments create opportunities for innovation by stimulating basic research, supporting technological transfer, and fostering entrepreneurship in development.
About the speaker
Dr Kingsley E Haynes is University Professor Emeritus and founding Dean of School of Public Policy at George Mason University, USA (1990-2010). He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a Fellow and past President of Regional Science Association International, and serves at Executive Secretary of the Applied Geography Commission, International Geographic Union (2008-12). He has directed research grant and contracts totaling over USD50 million, co-authored or edited 5 books and over 300 articles and professional reports. Dr Haynes was the director of McGill’s urban Studies center, Texas’ Joint Center for West Texas Environmental Studies and Indiana University’s Regional Economic Development Institute. He received numerous awards and accolades for his work and service.