Regional Integration and Household Resilience: Infrastructure Connectivity and Livelihood Diversity in the Southwestern Amazon
The Inter-Oceanic Highway is among the first wave of large infrastructure projects under the auspices of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America, which proposes regional integration as a means of economic development. Such projects have reignited debates over infrastructure impacts, which in many ways center on the ramifications for natural resource management. We pursue an analysis of the implications of highway paving for local livelihoods by focusing on the effects of market connectivity on livelihood diversity. Given that infrastructure brings shocks to affected regions, we argue that livelihood diversity is usefully interpreted in terms of household resilience to such shocks. We draw on rural household surveys from the tri-national frontier where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet in the southwestern Amazon, where the Inter-Oceanic Highway has recently been paved. The findings show that households more connected to markets in terms of travel time and road paving have less diverse livelihoods. This confirms concerns about regional integration and rural household vulnerability.
KeywordsIntegration Infrastructure Livelihoods Amazon Bolivia Brazil Peru
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