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Reinventing Boston: 1640-2003

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

The three largest cities in colonial America remain at the core of three of America's largest metropolitan areas today. This paper asks how Boston has been able to survive despite repeated periods of crisis and decline. Boston has reinvented itself three times: in the early 19th century as the provider of seafaring human capital for a far flung maritime trading and fishing empire, in the late 19th century as a factory town built on immigrant labor and Brahmin capital, and finally in the late 20th century as a center of the information economy. In all three instances, human capital admittedly of radically different forms provided the secret to Boston's rebirth. The history of Boston suggests that a strong base of skilled workers is a more reliable source of long-run urban health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10166.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
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Publication status: published as Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "Reinventing Boston: 1630--2003," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 119-153, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10166

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, . "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 382, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1901, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(04), pages 813-850, December.
  4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," NBER Working Papers 9886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Kerstin Press, 2006. "Divide to conquer? The Silicon Valley - Boston 128 case revisited," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0610, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Dec 2006.

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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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