Spatial effects of transport infrastructure on regional growth: the case of Turkey


The provision of infrastructure is an important policy tool for promoting regional growth and reducing regional disparities. The main reason underlying this approach is the view that transportation promotes mobility, mobility promotes trade, and trade promotes economic growth. Based on this view, Turkey has invested in transportation infrastructure to reduce the regional economic inequalities since the 1960s. Between 2004 and 2014, governments have expended approximately 65 billion dollars for road infrastructure only. We believe that investigating the recent improvements in road infrastructure with a spatial perspective in an emerging economy as Turkey is necessary to generate more effective and practical regional policies. This study attempts to measure the latest developments of transportation infrastructure by analyzing the spatial effects of road transport infrastructure on regional economy in Turkish NUTS 2 regions between 2004 and 2014. We employ an augmented Cobb–Douglas production function model and use spatial Durbin model to estimate spatial effects. Apart from previous studies that employ spatial econometric models, we create a different spatial weight matrix for each year based on inverse distance to capture the change between the years 2004 and 2014. The results reveal that road infrastructure investment has significant and positive spatial spillover effects on regional growth. Any improvement in road transport infrastructure in a region causes a GDP increase in neighboring regions. Essentially the findings expose the importance of indirect effects of road transport infrastructure and contradict with previous non-spatial and overestimated effect results in the literature.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    The results are available upon request.

  2. 2.

    For more detailed information and discussion about global and local spillovers, see [24] and [25].

  3. 3.

    Eleven spatial weight matrices are available upon request.


  1. 1.

    Vickerman, R. (2002). The role of infrastructure for expansion and integration. In M. M. Fischer (Ed.), G Atalik. Berlin, Heidelberg: Regional Development Reconsidered. Advances in Spatial Science. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Button, K. (2005). The economics of cost recovery in transport: introduction. Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, 39(3), 241–257.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Karadağ, M., Deliktaş, E., & Önder, A. Ö. (2004). The effects of public infrastructure on private sector performances in the Turkish regional manufacturing industries. European Planning Studies, 12(8), 1145–1156.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Ministry of Development (2015). Bölgesel Gelişme Ulusal Stratejisi (2014-2023). Ankara.

  5. 5.

    Aschauer, D. A. (1989). Is public expenditure productive? Journal of Monetary Economics, 23(2), 177–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Rodríguez-Pose, A., Psycharis, Y., & Tselios, V. (2012). Public investment and regional growth and convergence: Evidence from Greece. Papers in Regional Science, 91(3), 543–568.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Pereira, A. M., & Andraz, J. M. (2013). On the economic effects of public infrastructure investment: A survey of the international evidence. Journal of Economic Development, 38(4), 1–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Moreno, R., & López-Bazo, E. (2007). Returns to local and transport infrastructure under regional spillovers. International Regional Science Review, 30(1), 47–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Holtz-Eakin, D., & Schwartz, A. E. (1995). Spatial productivity spillovers from public infrastructure: evidence from state highways. International Tax and Public Finance, 2(3), 459–468.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Boarnet, M. G. (1998). Spillovers and the locational effects of public infrastructure. Journal of Regional Science, 38(3), 381–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Cohen, J. P. (2010). The broader effects of transportation infrastructure: Spatial econometrics and productivity approaches. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 46(3), 317–326.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Jiwattanakulpaisarn, P., Noland, R. B., & Graham, D. J. (2011). Highway infrastructure and private output: evidence from static and dynamic production function models. Transportmetrica, 7(5), 347–367.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Del Bo, C. F., & Florio, M. (2012). Infrastructure and growth in a spatial framework: evidence from the EU regions. European Planning Studies, 20(8), 1393–1414.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Xueliang, Z. (2013). Has transport infrastructure promoted regional economic growth? with an analysis of the spatial spillover effects of transport infrastructure. Social Sciences in China, 34(2), 24–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Arbués, P., Banos, J. F., & Mayor, M. (2015). The spatial productivity of transportation infrastructure. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 75, 166–177.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Dehghan Shabani, Z., & Safaie, S. (2018). Do transport infrastructure spillovers matter for economic growth? Evidence on road and railway transport infrastructure in Iranian provinces. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 10(1), 49–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Elburz, Z., Nijkamp, P., & Pels, E. (2017). Public infrastructure and regional growth: evidence from Turkey. European Journal of Transport & Infrastructure Research, 17(4), 1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Yu, N., De Jong, M., Storm, S., & Mi, J. (2013). Spatial spillover effects of transport infrastructure: evidence from Chinese regions. Journal of Transport Geography, 28, 56–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Tong, T., Yu, T. H. E., Cho, S. H., Jensen, K., & Ugarte, D. D. L. T. (2013). Evaluating the spatial spillover effects of transportation infrastructure on agricultural output across the United States. Journal of Transport Geography, 30, 47–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Chen, Z., & Haynes, K. E. (2015). Public surface transportation and regional output: A spatial panel approach. Papers in Regional Science, 94(4), 727–751.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Li, J., Wen, J., & Jiang, B. (2017). Spatial spillover effects of transport infrastructure in Chinese new silk road economic belt. International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy, 6, 1–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Lucas, R. E. (1988). On the mechanics of economic development. Journal of Monetary Economics, 22, 3–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Halleck Vega, S., & Elhorst, J. P. (2012). On spatial econometric models, spillover effects, and W. University of Groningen, Working paper.

  24. 24.

    LeSage, J. P. (2014). What regional scientists need to know about spatial econometrics. The Review of Regional Studies, 44(1), 13–32.

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Lacombe, D. J., & McLntyre, S. G. (2016). Local and global spatial effects in hierarchical models. Applied Economics Letters, 23(16), 1168–1172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Elhorst, J. P. (2012). Spatial panel data models. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Bavaud, F. (1998). Models for spatial weights: a systematic look. Geographical Analysis, 30(2), 153–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Anselin, L. (2001). Spatial Econometrics. In B. H. Baltagi (Ed.), A companion to theoretical econometrics, (310-330). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Anselin, L. (1988). Spatial econometrics: Methods and models. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    LeSage, J. P., & Pace, R. K. (2009). Introduction to Spatial Econometrics. FL: CRC Press Boca Raton.

    Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Anselin, L. (1999). Spatial Econometrics, Retrieved February 10, 2018, from

  32. 32.

    Environmental Systems Research Institute (2018). OD cost matrix analysis. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from

  33. 33.

    LeSage, J. P. (2004). Lecture 1: Maximum likelihood estimation of spatial regression models, Retrieved February 10, 2018, from

  34. 34.

    Moody, C. E. (1974). The measurement of capital services by electrical energy. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 36(1), 45–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Bröcker, J., & Rietveld, P. (2009). Infrastructure and regional development. In R. Capello & P. Nijkamp (Eds.), Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories, (152-181). Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Vickerman, R. (2007). Recent evolution of research into the wider economic benefits of transport infrastructure investments. OECD Discussion Paper, 2007-9.

  37. 37.

    Melo, P. C., Graham, D. J., & Brage-Ardao, R. (2013). The productivity of transport infrastructure investment: A meta-analysis of empirical evidence. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 43, 695–706.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Deng, T. (2013). Impacts of transport infrastructure on productivity and economic growth: Recent advances and research challenges. Transport Reviews, 33(6), 686–699.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Gómez-Antonio, M., & Garijo, A. A. (2012). Evaluating the effect of public investment on productivity growth using an urban economics approach for the Spanish provinces. International Regional Science Review, 35(4), 389–423.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Bronzini, R., & Piselli, P. (2009). Determinants of long-run regional productivity with geographical spillovers: the role of R&D, human capital and public infrastructure. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 39(2), 187–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Nijkamp, P. (1986). Infrastructure and regional development: a multidimensional analysis. Empirical Economics, 11(1), 1–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Puga, D. (2002). European regional policies in light of recent location theories. Journal of Economic Geography, 2(4), 373–406.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Gezici, F., & Hewings, G. J. (2004). Regional convergence and the economic performance of peripheral areas in Turkey. Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, 16(2), 113–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Filiztekin, A., & Çelik, M. A. (2010). Regional income inequality in Turkey. Megaron, 5(3), 116–127.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the Dokuz Eylul University Department of Scientific Research Projects under Grant 2018.KB.FEN.005

Author information




Zeynep Elburz: Literature Search/Review, Analyzing, Manuscript Writing, Content planning. K. Mert Cubukcu: Literature Search/Review, Analyzing, Manuscript Writing, Content planning

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zeynep Elburz.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Elburz, Z., Cubukcu, K.M. Spatial effects of transport infrastructure on regional growth: the case of Turkey. Spat. Inf. Res. 29, 19–30 (2021).

Download citation


  • Spatial Durbin model
  • Spatial spillover effects
  • Spatial weight matrix
  • Road transport