Iimi, Atsushi

Transport Global Practice
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Industrial organization, Development economics
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Transport Global Practice
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Last updated August 2, 2023
Atsushi Iimi is a Senior Economist in the Transport Global Practice of the World Bank where he specializes in development economics related to the Bank’s transport operations in Africa. He joined the World Bank in 2006 after earning a Ph.D. in economics from Brown University. Before joining the Bank, he also worked at IMF and JICA/OEFC, Japan. His research interests include spatial analysis, rural accessibility, evaluation of transport and energy projects, growth and public expenditure. His research on these topics has been published in scholarly journals, such as the Review of Industrial Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Applied Economics, the Development Economies, and IMF Staff Papers.
Citations 9 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Estimating the Demand for Informal Public Transport: Evidence from Antananarivo, Madagascar
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-04) Iimi, Atsushi
    Informal public transport has been growing rapidly in many developing countries. Because urban infrastructure development tends to lag rapid population growth, informal public transport often meets the growing gap between demand and supply in urban mobility. Despite the rich literature primarily focused on formal transport modes, the informal transport sector is relatively unknown. This paper analyzes the demand behavior in the “informal” minibus sector in Antananarivo, Madagascar, taking advantage of a recent user survey of thousands of people. It finds that the demand for informal public transport is generally inelastic. Essentially, people have no other choice. While the time elasticity is estimated at −0.02 to −0.05, the price elasticity is −0.05 to −0.06 for short-distance travelers, who may have alternative choices, such as motorcycle taxi or walking. Unlike formal public transportation, the demand also increases with income. Regardless of income level, everyone uses minibuses. The estimated demand functions indicate that people prefer safety and more flexibility in transit. The paper shows that combining these improvements and fare adjustments, the informal transport sector can contribute to increasing people’s mobility and reducing traffic congestion in the city.
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    Estimating the Impacts of Transport Corridor Development in Kazakhstan: Application of Dynamic Panel Data Models to Firm Registry Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) Iimi, Atsushi
    Large-scale transport infrastructure investment can facilitate structural transformation by changing firm behavior. Although its impact is evident over the long term, an important empirical challenge is potential endogeneity of infrastructure placement. By using the dynamic panel data regression, the paper examines the impacts of massive road corridor investment under the Nurly Zhol program in Kazakhstan. The paper takes advantage of detailed micro shipping data to capture historical changes in transport connectivity over the past 10 years. While the average travel speed has slightly increased, transport costs have been nearly halved. The estimated translog cost functions indicate that local market accessibility is the most important factor to boost firm productivity. The elasticity was 0.24 in absolute terms. Inventory is found to be a major cost factor for firms. It is found that a 10-percent improvement in accessibility to large cities, such as Astana and Almaty, could allow firms to reduce their inventory by 8.7 percent. The market accessibility is found to foster firm agglomerations, but agglomeration economies do not seem to translate into higher firm productivity. This is possibly because the Kazakh economy still lacks effective forward or backward linkages across industries.
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    Estimating Road Freight Transport Costs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Using Large Shipping Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-08-02) Iimi, Atsushi
    The recent global crises, such as the COVID-19 crisis, remind us of the importance of efficient transportation and logistics. Notably, however, even before the crises, some regions were already experiencing a gradual increase in freight costs, with more and more empty trucks observed. The paper recasts light on the question of how road freight costs are determined using large, unique shipping data from Eastern European and Central Asian countries. It finds that economies of scale are significant in both freight weight or load factor and distance. The elasticity with respect to freight weight is particularly high at about 0.3 to 1.0 in absolute terms. Thus, to contain trucking costs, it is important to maximize the load factor through freight consolidation at origins and destinations. The elasticity with respect to distance is relatively modest at 0.04 to 0.16 in absolute terms but still statistically significant, indicating that distance may not necessarily be a constraint on trade and regional integration. Trucking costs also decrease with driving speed, a proxy for efficiency of movements or road conditions. The elasticity is significant for food products (−0.03) and other consumer goods (−0.11). Finally, the paper finds that border crossing adds 3–4 percent to freight costs.
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    Agglomeration Economies and Transport Connectivity Revisited: A Regional Perspective Based on Evidence from the Caucasus and Central Asian Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-08-02) Iimi, Atsushi
    Transport connectivity is an important determinant of agglomeration economies and urbanization. However, measuring its impacts is a complex task when causality is considered. An important empirical challenge comes from potential endogeneity of infrastructure placement. To deal with the endogeneity problem, first, the paper constructs detailed georeferenced connectivity measurements based on micro shipping data collected over 10 years. Then, the system generalized method of moments regression is applied. Using unique data from the Caucasus and Central Asian countries, the paper estimates the impact of transport connectivity on agglomeration economies. It finds that agglomeration economies are significant and persistent in the region. Thus, the existing firm clusters are likely to continue growing. However, a constraint is also found. Large cities exhibit congestion diseconomies. Finally, the paper shows that the improvement of transport connectivity, especially local market accessibility, has a significant effect on agglomeration. By contrast, no clear evidence to support the impact of improved regional connectivity on agglomeration is observed yet. To take full advantage of agglomeration economies at the regional level, further efforts may be needed, for instance, toward increasing efficiency in transportation and logistics, improving the freight load, and/or reducing the time and costs of border crossing, which add to overall transport costs and times.