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Welcome to the January issue of Voices on Infrastructure, a collection of insights on restarting economies with infrastructure investment.

Infrastructure investment is an important tool to support growth, create jobs, propel economic recovery, and position our economies for sustainable growth. More than ever, many countries are faced with the need to invest in updated infrastructure to support growing populations, address inequities in the distribution of infrastructure services, and decarbonize their industries.

COVID-19’s impact on the global economy has exacerbated the need for governments to identify investment programs that will stimulate economic recovery and create sustainable jobs. The pandemic has also highlighted the weaknesses in our core social and physical infrastructure that have hampered our response to COVID-19—and that will make recovery that much more difficult.  

However, the immense fiscal challenge of COVID-19 recovery has created competition among a long list of worthy spending options. To plug near-term operating budget gaps, government willingness to borrow is at an all-time high, but what is the case that prioritizing infrastructure investment will deliver the necessary economic support for near- and long-term recovery? History has shown it possible, but governments will need to prioritize projects, deploy stimulus funding in an impactful way, and take advantage of alternative funding sources—including the trillions of dollars in private capital waiting on the sidelines.

In this issue, we debate the role of infrastructure investment in economic recovery, including how to select the right projects, create jobs, and build sustainable infrastructure for the future. We also explore the long-term effects of stimulus spending on infrastructure. We hope that this issue of Voices and GII’s supporting events on this topic will allow us collectively to convert the hardship of COVID-19 into an opportunity for renewal by building the infrastructure of the future to catalyze sustainable economic recovery.

Aaron Bielenberg
McKinsey & Company

Rob Palter
Senior Partner
McKinsey & Company

More Articles


The post-pandemic recovery could be decisive in the fight against climate change. Our analysis illustrates how policy makers can bring economic, environmental, and social priorities together.

Hauke Engel, Alastair Hamilton, Solveigh Hieronimus, and Tomas Nauclér, McKinsey & Company


Industry leaders weigh in on what infrastructure stimulus investments governments may want to prioritize in the near term as they consider economic recovery.

Sir Danny Alexander, AIIB; Sir John Armitt, National Infrastructure Commission; Makhtar Diop, World Bank; and Catherine McKenna, Government of Canada


Leaders must tackle increasingly complex economic, social, and environmental challenges to ensure cities stay competitive. Harnessing new technologies can help.

Rohit T. Aggarwala and Joshua Sirefman, Sidewalk Labs


Infrastructure projects can create jobs and spur economic growth—both critical as the world reckons with the fallout from COVID-19. But budgets are tight, so which projects should be prioritized?

Aaron BielenbergSarah BrodyPaul Jacobson, and Rebecka Pritchard, McKinsey & Company


Harvard economists Larry Summers and Ed Glaeser debate how to fund infrastructure investment in a post-COVID world.

Larry Summers and Ed Glaeser, Harvard University


Governments have used a variety of measures to support commercial real estate and their tenants through COVID-19—with mixed results for both parties. What opportunity exists for new approaches?

Jonathan Lurie, Realty Corporation Ltd. and McKinsey & Company, and Rob Palter, McKinsey & Company


Infrastructure agencies need to prepare for two very different scenarios—a sharp rise in funding or a precipitous drop.

Jared Katseff, Shannon Peloquin, Michael Rooney, and Todd Wintner, McKinsey & Company


As the pandemic causes supply to outpace demand in tendering, project owners must adjust their approaches to consider new risks—and make the shifts the industry needs to move forward.

Jim Banaszak, Corey Hopper, and Garo Hovnanian, McKinsey & Company


Tony Hansen, Global Infrastructure Initiative

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