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Chinese Roads

Jan 15, 2011 • Developing Economies, Economic History • 168 Views    No Comments

Just 2 Chinese road stories today:

Charged with evading $556,000 in tolls, a Chinese truck driver was sentenced to life in prison and a $300,000 fine. The Chinese provincial court that convicted him said that for 8 months, he used false military documents to avoid paying tolls during 2300 trips. Reacting to the story, people were more disturbed about expensive tolls than the dishonesty.

During August, “a monster of a traffic jam,” 60 miles long, trapped drivers for 10 days on a major Chinese highway near Beijing. Construction and few exits seemed to be the culprits. Entrepreneurs, seeing an opportunity, sold food and water to drivers.

The Economic Lesson

A crucial part of a transportation infrastructure, roads facilitate economic activity. While roads have been crucial for U.S. economic development, the story would not be complete without including canals and railroads.

According to World Bank statistics, 49% of all Chinese roads (2007) are paved. To compare Chinese roads to other countries, you might look here. Other facts about China’s roads, primarily from Peter Hessler’s book, are here in econlife.

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