Infrastructure investment and employment: Evidence for Portugal

Alfredo M. Pereira, Rui M. Pereira, Pedro G. Rodrigues

Article ID: 1377
Vol 5, Issue 2, 2021

VIEWS - 1352 (Abstract) 450 (PDF)


We estimated how investment in 12 infrastructure types affects employment in Portugal. Using a vector-autoregressive specification at the industry level, we found a double dividend associated with ports and airports: investing in either delivers the greatest bang per euro, both on impact and in the long run. One million euros invested in ports and airports creates 717.1 and 290.5 jobs in the long run, respectively, and 535 and 253.3 jobs in the short run, respectively. Regarding long-term employment effects, these are followed by municipal roads, telecommunications, national roads, health structures, education facilities, refineries, railroads, and highways. Water infrastructures and electricity and gas infrastructures have negligible effects. With the long-term effects decomposed, sizable supply-side employment effects for health and education facilities exist, while demand-side effects dominate for airports, ports, municipal roads, and telecommunications. Employment following the investment in national roads is balanced across demand and supply channels. We found no significant employment-related location effects of infrastructure investments. Also, investing in either health facilities or in education buildings entails non-negligible job losses in the short run. These results suggest that the magnitude and the timing of job creation crucially depend on the type of infrastructure investment. Policymakers in Portugal need to be aware of this in choosing between countercyclical or structural targets.


infrastructure investment; employment; vector autoregression; countercyclical policy; structural policy; Portugal

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