Infrastructure investment in international comparison

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					Infrastructure investment in
  international comparison
          The standard story
• UK under-invests, though this occurs elsewhere
• “The CBI has found that 70% of senior business
  figures consider the UK’s infrastructure to be
  poor” (Policy Exchange 2009).
• Some truth that UK tends to low end of
  economic infrastructure investment.
• But more useful to look more closely, as the
  OECD data does, though this is still imperfect,
  both in terms of disaggregation and in length of
  time series. ITF recommends caution on
  international data.
Government total investment
   spending 1960-2006
Trends in overall public investment
    as % of GDP, 1970-2004
 ITF data for West European
countries, in global comparison
ITF Trends 1995-2008
  Overall investment in economic
and social infrastructure 1970-2006
GFCF - Electricity, gas and water
 GFCF – Post and
GFCF – Transport and storage
OECD 1970-2006, electricity, water
           and gas
OECD 1970-2006 transport,
storage and communications
 Energy production investment 1990-2008
(Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, top to
Air transport 1990-2008 ((UK, Germany, France,
           Netherlands top to bottom)
Transport and storage 1970-2008 (Germany,
   France, UK, Netherlands top to bottom)
 Transport, storage and communications 1970-
2008 (Germany, Spain, France, UK, Netherlands,
                 top to bottom)
Collection, purification and distribution of water
1990-2008 (France, Germany, UK, Netherlands
                  top to bottom)
  Overall Australian GFCF data
• Generalised decline in most sectors (not
  post and telecoms) from mid 1980s.
• UK always low on these graphs, around
  1% of GDP for energy and water, 1 to
  1.5% for transport.
• Most European countries somewhat
  higher, especially France, in this data set
  running to 2003.
  OECD STAN data summary
• Germany is highest on energy, transport
  and water investment, normally by large
• UK top on airports investment, others far
• France and UK often around similar levels
  on energy, transport and water, though on
  balance France higher.
              Overall picture
• Not a fully conclusive picture in comparing these
  European countries.
• GFCF data puts UK consistently low and often
  lowest since 1970.
• But neither OECD nor STAN data make this so
  striking. There aviation as UK growth sector, and
  not that much behind France on others.
• Germany always strong on STAN data –
  reunification as powerful element of this since
• Many countries have invested more than UK in
  these decades, but always hard to say what
  “appropriate” level of infrastructure investment
• Australian analysts have tussled with this, but no
  “objective” answer reached.
• It depends on your goals...
• So, in my view, we should be very careful with
  CBI, ICE etc type judgements of “infrastructure
  gaps”. Statistics cannot prove this.

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