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To inform debate on a new transportation bill being considered, the authors review the literature on the economic outcomes of highway infrastructure spending, which constitutes the largest share of federal spending on transportation infrastructure. They first highlight the connections between highway spending and the economy and then analyze the literature to trace the effects of highway infrastructure on productivity, output, and employment. Then, they conduct a formal quantitative meta-analysis to discern more clearly why the literature has produced its current findings about infrastructure and the economy. After discussing these findings, they consider the implications for federal highway policy and for future research.

This monograph is a product of the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated independent research. The research was conducted under the auspices of the Transportation, Space, and Technology Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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