Railroads and American Economic Growth: A “Market Access” Approach
AbstractThis paper examines the historical impact of railroads on the American economy. Expansion of the railroad network may have affected all counties directly or indirectly – an econometric challenge that arises in many empirical settings. However, the total impact on each county is captured by changes in that county's “market access,” a reduced-form expression derived from general equilibrium trade theory. We measure counties' market access by constructing a network database of railroads and waterways and calculating lowest-cost county-to-county freight routes. As the railroad network expanded from 1870 to 1890, changes in market access were capitalized into county agricultural land values with an estimated elasticity of 1.1. County-level declines in market access associated with removing all railroads in 1890 are estimated to decrease the total value of US agricultural land by 64%. Feasible extensions to internal waterways or improvements in country roads would have mitigated 13% or 20% of the losses from removing railroads.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19213.
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Note: DAE DEV EFG ITI
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- F1 - International Economics - - Trade
- N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
- N51 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N71 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
- R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-07-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2013-07-15 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-TRE-2013-07-15 (Transport Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Breinlich, Holger & Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Temple, Jonathan, 2013.
"Regional Growth and Regional Decline,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
9568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Holger Breinlich & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Jonathan R. W. Temple, 2013. "Regional Growth and Regional Decline," CEP Discussion Papers dp1232, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Holger Breinlich & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Jonathan R.W. Temple, 2013. "Regional growth and regional decline," Economics Discussion Papers 729, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
- Brunt, Liam & Cannon, Edmund, 2013.
"Integration in the English wheat market 1770-1820,"
Discussion Paper Series in Economics
12/2013, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2013.
"Entrepreneurship And Urban Growth:An Empirical Assessment With Historical Mines,"
13-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-015, Harvard Business School.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2012. "Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines," NBER Working Papers 18333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rosa Sanchis-Guarner, 2012. "Driving Up Wages: The Effects of Road Construction in Great Britain," SERC Discussion Papers 0120, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
- Nicolas Ziebarth, 2013.
"Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures,"
Review of Economic Dynamics,
Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 86-99, January.
- Nicolas Ziebarth, 2012. "Code and data files for "Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures"," Computer Codes 11-35, Review of Economic Dynamics.
- Dincecco, Mark & Katz, Gabriel, 2012. "State Capacity and Long-Run Performance," MPRA Paper 38299, University Library of Munich, Germany.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.