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The Development of Cities in Italy 1300 – 1861

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  • Maarten Bosker
  • Steven Brakman
  • Harry Garretsen
  • Herman de Jong
  • Marc Schramm

Abstract

The evolution of city growth is usually studied for relatively short time periods. The rise and decline of cities is, however, typically a process that takes many decades or even centuries. In this paper we study the evolution of Italian cities over the period 1300-1861. The first contribution of our paper is that we use various descriptive statistics on individual city sizes and the city-size distribution as a whole to highlight the main characteristics of Italy’s urban system such as the differences between northern and southern Italy. Our second, and main, contribution is that our data allow for panel estimation where city-size is regressed on various geographical, political and other determinants of city size for the period 1300-1861. We show that, although large shocks such as the plague epidemics are clearly visible in the data, the main determinants of Italy’s city growth invariably are physical geography and political predominance. Also the North-South difference turns out to be important.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1893.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1893

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  1. Fujita, M. & Thisse, J.-F., . "Economics of agglomeration," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1250, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1269-1289, December.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon H. & Robinson, James A., 2003. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutioanl Change and Economic Growth," Working papers 4269-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  4. Glaeser, E.L. & Ades, A.F., 1993. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1646, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Xavier Gabaix & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2003. "The Evolution of City Size Distributions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0310, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2006. "Log(Rank-1/2): A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2106, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  9. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2007. "Rank-1/2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Marat Ibragimov & Rustam Ibragimov & Rufat Khamidov, 2010. "Measuring Inequality in CIS Countries: Theory and Empirics," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 088, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  2. Ibragimov, Marat & Ibragimov, Rustam & Kattuman, Paul, 2013. "Emerging markets and heavy tails," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2546-2559.

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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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