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Endowments and market access; the size of towns in historical perspective: Saxony, 1550–1834

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  • Ploeckl, Florian

Abstract

The spatial concentration of people into towns shapes the population distribution, the factors explaining town size are therefore important determinants on the spatial distribution of people. This paper uses a historical case study, Saxony in 1834, to analyze empirically the relative impact of endowments and agglomeration based on the application of a New Economic Geography model. The model and data allow the analysis of the complete population distribution, from large cities down to the smallest village. The results suggest that location characteristics explain the relative size of settlements, but only 9% of absolute town and 2% of absolute village population. Similarly, the direct effects of location characteristics shape the relative size of urban growth between 1550 and 1834, but conditional on transportation cost decreases the size of the effects is only between 1/4 and 1/9 of the second-order effect through the impact on market access. Finally, the model implies a location characteristics index value for each settlement. Actual geographic characteristics, ranging from agricultural land quality to weather patterns, explain a significant share of these values, and therefore settlement size.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 607-618

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Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:42:y:2012:i:4:p:607-618

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/regec

Related research

Keywords: Population history; Town size; New Economic Geography; Location amenities; Agglomeration;

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References

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  1. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Economics Series Working Papers Number 84, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Florian Ploeckl, 2008. "Borders, Market Size and Urban Growth, The Case of Saxon Towns and the Zollverein in the 19th Century," Working Papers 966, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  3. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, bombs and break points: The geography of economic activity," Discussion Papers 0102-02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
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  6. Beeson, Patricia E. & DeJong, David N. & Troesken, Werner, 2001. "Population growth in U.S. counties, 1840-1990," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 669-699, November.
  7. Gilles Duranton, 2007. "Urban Evolutions: The Fast, the Slow, and the Still," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 197-221, March.
  8. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  9. María Ayuda & Fernando Collantes & Vicente Pinilla, 2010. "From locational fundamentals to increasing returns: the spatial concentration of population in Spain, 1787–2000," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 25-50, March.
  10. Florian Ploeckl, 2012. "Market Access and Information Technology Adoption: Historical Evidence from the Telephone in Bavaria," Economics Series Working Papers 620, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. Mark D. Partridge, 2010. "The duelling models: NEG vs amenity migration in explaining US engines of growth," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(3), pages 513-536, 08.
  12. J.Peter Neary, 2001. "Of Hype and Hyperbolas: Introducing the New Economic Geography," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 536-561, June.
  13. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  14. Florian Ploeckl, 2011. "Towns (and Villages); Definitions and Implications in a Historical Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 536, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. Rappaport, Jordan & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 2003. " The United States as a Coastal Nation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-46, March.
  16. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2000. "Agriculture, Climate, and Technology: Why are the Tropics Falling Behind?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(3), pages 731-737.
  17. Bogart, Dan, 2005. "Turnpike trusts and the transportation revolution in 18th century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 479-508, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Florian Ploeckl, 2012. "Space, settlements, towns: the influence of geography and market access on settlement distribution and urbanization," Working Papers 2012/23, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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