Portage: Path Dependence and Increasing Returns in U.S. History
AbstractWe 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, we document the continuing—and even increasing—importance of these portage sites over time. We interpret this finding in a model with path dependence arising from local increasing returns to scale.
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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Other versions of this item:
- Hoyt Bleakley & Jeffrey Lin., 2010. "Portage: path dependence and increasing returns in U.S. history," Working Papers 10-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- 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-2010-09-03 (All new papers)
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