Directorate for Public Governance

Gaps and Governance Standards of Public Infrastructure in Chile

Infrastructure Governance Review

Published on December 22, 2017

Also available in: Spanish

Chile’s planning and governance framework has supported the roll-out of high quality and efficient infrastructure that has been a key enabler of the country’s rapid development over the past two decades. However, changing circumstances such as climate change, decentralisation and a greater focus on social and territorial equity now require a change in how infrastructure needs are identified and addressed. This review examines Chile’s infrastructure stock and governance standards in light of the country’s 2030 growth agenda and OECD benchmarks, and sets out how such change can be achieved, with a special focus on transport and water infrastructure.


Foreword and acknowledgements
Executive summary
Introduction to public infrastructure in Chile
The governance framework for infrastructure and horizontal co-ordination in Chile
Co-ordinating infrastructure policy across levels of government
Transport infrastructure
The governance of water infrastructure in Chile
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This review underlines the success of Chile’s infrastructure policies which have served as a backbone for it's rapid economic development and social welfare reforms - but the report also highlights the need to update public investment processes to reflect a more integrated approach to long-term development.

What are the potential impacts of not addressing Chile’s infrastructure gaps?


  • Economic growth nationally would be constrained, as deteriorating infrastructure can negatively affect the competitiveness of export industries and inflate the prices of imported goods.
  • Disparities in economic performance between regions and within metropolitan areas could widen.
  • Future resources that could be allocated to strategic infrastructure investment may need to be diverted towards actions to reduce the deterioration of inadequate infrastructure.

The report highlights that:

  • productive investment especially in transport infrastructure is vital for prosperity given that the economy heavily geared towards exports and relies on well-functioning logistics; 
  • infrastructure responses alone will not be sufficient to meet future needs. Investments need to be accompanied by stronger governance frameworks and institutions, with a clear evaluation processes.
  • the importance of the regional dimension. Chile has the most centralised framework of the OECD for public investment, with 88% of that investment decided at the central level – compared to 41% on average in the OECD.


Read the summary English | Spanish

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