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Railroads and Micro-regional Growth in Prussia

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  • Erik Hornung

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Abstract

We study the effect of railroad access on urban population growth. Using GIS techniques,we match triennial population data for roughly 1000 cities in nineteenth-century Prussiato georeferenced maps of the German railroad network. We find positive short- andlong-term effects of having a station on urban growth for different periods during1840–1871. Causal effects of (potentially endogenous) railroad access on city growthare identified using instrumental variable and fixed-effects estimation techniques. Ourinstrument identifies exogenous variation in railroad access by constructing straight-linecorridors between terminal stations. Counterfactual models using pre-railroad growthyield no evidence in support of the hypothesis that railroads appeared as a consequenceof a previous growth spurt.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Paper No. 127.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_127

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Keywords: Railroads; technological diffusion; economic growth; population growth;

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References

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  1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2013. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 175, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  2. Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2008. "Institutions, Technology, and Trade," NBER Working Papers 13913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Nancy Qian, 2012. "On the Road: Access to Transportation Infrastructure and Economic Growth in China," NBER Working Papers 17897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Wendland, Nicolai, 2011. "Fifty years of urban accessibility: The impact of the urban railway network on the land gradient in Berlin 1890-1936," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 77-88, March.
  7. Nancy Qian & Nathan Nunn, 2010. "The Potato’s Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment," Working Papers id:2792, eSocialSciences.
  8. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2003. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Staff Reports 169, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Fogel, Robert William, 1962. "A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Railroads in American Economic Growth: A Report of Some Preliminary Findings," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 163-197, June.
  10. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Michael Haines & Robert A. Margo, 2009. "Did Railroads Induce Or Follow Economic Growth? Urbanization And Population Growth In The American Midwest, 1850-60," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-178, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. Jeremiah E. Dittmar, 2011. "Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of The Printing Press," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1133-1172.
  12. Florian Ploeckl, 2011. "Towns (and Villages); Definitions and Implications in a Historical Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 536, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Jeremy Atack & Michael R. Haines & Robert A. Margo, 2008. "Railroads and the Rise of the Factory: Evidence for the United States, 1850-70," NBER Working Papers 14410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805, 05.
  15. Fremdling, Rainer, 1977. "Railroads and German Economic Growth: A Leading Sector Analysis with a Comparison to the United States and Great Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 583-604, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung, 2011. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," Working Papers 0010, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  2. Berger, Thor & Enflo, Kerstin, 2014. "Locomotives of Local Growth: The Short- and Long-Term Impact of Railroads in Sweden," Lund Papers in Economic History 132, Department of Economic History, Lund University.
  3. Stefan Arent, 2012. "Expectations and Saving Behavior: An Empirical Analysis," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 128, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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