The following article is an excerpt from a series of articles that will appear in i3 from the report by Georg Inderst Social Infrastructure Finance and Institutional Investors: A Global Perspective. The first installment appeared in the 2020 July-August issue of i3. The report with footnotes and references is available at www.georginderst.com or http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3556473.
In the investment practice, definitions of “infrastructure” center on basic physical structures and “hard” public assets that provide essential services to society. A common distinction is between economic and social infrastructure. The former covers primarily the sectors of transport (such as airports, ports or toll roads), energy, water and waste, telecommunications, and digital networks. Another distinction often made is between “physical” and “non-physical infrastructure.” Traditionally, the focus is on “hard” social infrastructure (a