Portage: path dependence and increasing returns in U.S. history
AbstractThe authors examine portage sites in the U.S. South, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including those on the fall line, a geomorphologic feature in the southeastern U.S. marking the final rapids on rivers before the ocean. Historically, waterborne transport of goods required portage around the falls at these points, while some falls provided water power during early industrialization. These factors attracted commerce and manufacturing. Although these original advantages have long since been made obsolete, the authors document the continuing-and even increasing-importance of these portage sites over time. They interpret this finding in a model with path dependence arising from local increasing returns to scale.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 10-27.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Hoyt Bleakley & Jeffrey Lin, 2010. "Portage: Path Dependence and Increasing Returns in U.S. History," NBER Working Papers 16314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- F1 - International Economics - - Trade
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
- R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-09-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-GEO-2010-09-25 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-HIS-2010-09-25 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-URE-2010-09-25 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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