The Infrastructure Gap: Lessons from the USA and Europe

Infrastructure provides essential services to households, organizations and firms, such as water, energy, communications and transportation, and its networks constitute the foundations upon which societies develop. Capital intensive, complex and high-risk, infrastructure requires long-term planning. From the 1980s it was thought that much public involvement in infrastructure could be replaced by private activity; however, private investment did not resolve the issue of under-investment. In the 2000s, as the gap between infrastructure needs and actual investment widened further, and evidence mounted of crumbling structures needing renewal, experts in planning warned of an imminent global infrastructure crisis. The financial crisis from 2008 heralded a sharper deterioration still due to the climate of uncertainty and investment restrictions. Today’s infrastructure crisis is characterized by severe underinvestment, posing a formidable challenge to infrastructure planners. Despite this, novel solutions to investing in and delivering infrastructure are emerging. This project will promote the diffusion and transfer of innovative methods of investing in and delivering infrastructure found in Europe to the US, and vice versa, with a view to ameliorating this major societal challenge of the future.Cases include new forms of organization and investment in the infrastructure sector, such as the growing role of infrastructure Multinationals, particularly from Europe,novel approaches to public-private partnerships, and privatization reversals, including re-municipalization.This project is funded by the Luigi Einaudi Innovation Grant, Cornell University, USA.





Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
University of Cantabria
39005 Cantabria



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