Infrastructure Capital: What Is It? Where Is It? How Much of It Is There?

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by John R. Baldwin and Jay Dixon

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This paper focuses on investment in infrastructure in Canada. The size of infrastructure investments relative to other capital stock sets this country apart from most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. The paper reviews the approaches taken by other researchers to define infrastructure. It then outlines a taxonomy to define those assets that should be considered as infrastructure and that can be used to assess the importance of different types of infrastructure investments. It briefly considers how to define the portion of infrastructure that should be considered 'public.' The final two parts of the paper apply the proposed classification system to data on Canada's capital stock, and ask the following questions: how much infrastructure does Canada have and in which sectors of the economy is this infrastructure located? Finally, the paper investigates how Canada's infrastructure has evolved over the last four decades, both in the commercial and non-commercial sectors, and compares these trends with the pattern that can be found in the United States.

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