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Borders, Market Size and Urban Growth, The Case of Saxon Towns and the Zollverein in the 19th Century

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  • Florian Ploeckl

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Yale University)

Abstract

Changes in trade institutions, such as the abolishment of tariff barriers, have a potentially strong impact on economic development. The Zollverein, the 1834 customs union between German states, erased borders in much of central Europe. This paper investigates the Zollverein's economic impact through a study of urban population and its growth in the German state of Saxony. A model of the effect of market access on urban growth is combined with an extensive data set on town populations in Saxony and its neighbors as well as an improved distance measure based on GIS techniques, which take into account elevation patterns, roads, and rivers. The results show that Zollverein membership led to significantly higher growth for towns close to the border with fellow Zollverein member Thuringia. They also illustrate that natural resources affect town size but not the growth pattern after the Zollverein. The effects of changes in market access were reinforced through the impact on market access in other towns and they were stronger for larger towns as well. Migration was the predominant source of the differential growth pattern.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 966.

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Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:966

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Keywords: Zollverein; Saxony; Customs Union; Market Access; Economic Geography; GIS; Distance measurement;

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  9. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _084, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Shiue, Carol H., 2005. "From political fragmentation towards a customs union: Border effects of the German Zollverein, 1815 to 1855," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 129-162, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Ploeckl, Florian, 2012. "Endowments and market access; the size of towns in historical perspective: Saxony, 1550–1834," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 607-618.
  2. Florian Ploeckl, 2011. "Towns (and Villages); Definitions and Implications in a Historical Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 536, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Economics Series Working Papers Number 84, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. 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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