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Road investment as enabling local economic development? Evidence from a rural Philippine fishing village


Jerry Olsson (e-mail:


This paper investigates how efforts to achieve local economic growth conflicted with long-term sustainable resource use when road accessibility was improved between a supply area – the households and household firms in a Philippine fishing village, Dinahican, previously hampered by very poor transport conditions and accessibility – and its major market. Findings indicate that improved road access to big fish markets stimulated investment in production enhancing inputs, which allowed increased fish landings and sales outside Dinahican, together with employment and incomes. At the same time, poorly implemented fisheries resource management resulted in overfishing in municipal waters and obvious disparities in access to productive resources. Thus, while road investment in relatively inaccessible rural resource rich areas may spur economic development as an underutilized production potential is released, it can facilitate resource depletion and intensify an unequal distribution of benefits if the enforcement of laws and regulations is lacking. In the case of Dinahican, coordination between infrastructure supply and the implementation and enforcement of fisheries resource management is found to be urgently needed.