Advocates argue that road building in low-income nations facilitates market access, promotes economic development, and improves canonical indicators of well-being in the orthodox approach to development. Detractors argue that road building has many ecological and social consequences. This project studied local attitudes towards the construction of a controversial road that would cross the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS), one of Bolivia’s main biodiversity hotspots.
The analysis of attitudes of lowland Indigenous Peoples living in the Multiethnic Indigenous Territory (TIM), an area neighboring TIPNIS that would be affected by the road, suggested that, in contrast to the large-scale opposition to the road by lowland Indigenous Peoples living in TIPNIS, those living in TIM were generally supportive of the road construction, mainly due to the expectation of better economic opportunities that it would bring. Moreover, the share of people with a positive attitude towards the road was higher among people in richer households, arguably because people with stronger links to the market would likely benefit most from the new road. Beyond the specific setting, our results show that there can be substantial heterogeneity of local attitudes towards the construction of large infrastructure projects, attitudes shaped by household characteristics.
January 2010 - December 2015