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Gateway Cities and Urbanisation in Southeast Asia Before World War II

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  • Gregg Huff

Abstract

Between the 1870s and World War II, falls in world shipping costs and Western industrialisation gave rise to export-led Southeast Asian growth and specialization in a narrow range of primary commodity exports.� A linked development was the emergence of a few dominant Southeast Asian urban centres, typically primate and always ports.� Drawing on historical census data, this paper uses rank-size distributions and transition matrices to investigate the influence of commodity specialisation and exports on urban systems development in the region.� It is argued that different commodities produced different spread effects, resulting in variation in degrees of urban concentration in the region.� However, geography, path dependence and infrastructrue also shaped urban systems development.� The main cities that emerged during this period became the 'gateways' that connected frontier Southeast Asia to the Global economy,

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number Number 96.

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Date of creation: 03 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:number-96

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Keywords: Urbanisation; Gateway cities; Agglomeration effects; Export-led growth; Staple exports; Urban systems; Rank-size distributions; Transition matrices;

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  1. Raul Livas Elizondo & Paul Krugman, 1992. "Trade Policy and the Third World Metropolis," NBER Working Papers 4238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
  3. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1996. "The role of ports in the making of major cities: Self-agglomeration and hub-effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 93-120, April.
  4. Nitsch, Volker, 2003. "Does history matter for urban primacy? The case of Vienna," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 401-418, July.
  5. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Saif I. Shah Mohammed & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Freight Rates and Productivity Gains in British Tramp Shipping 1869-1950," NBER Working Papers 9531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2002. "Bones, bombs and break points: The geography of economic activity," Discussion Papers 0102-02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  9. Fletcher, Max E., 1958. "The Suez Canal and World Shipping, 1869-1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 556-573, December.
  10. Odell, Kerry A. & Weiman, David F., 1998. "Metropolitan Development, Regional Financial Centers, and the Founding of the Fed in the Lower South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 103-125, March.
  11. Henderson, Vernon, 2003. " The Urbanization Process and Economic Growth: The So-What Question," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 47-71, March.
  12. Parr, John B., 1985. "A note on the size distribution of cities over time," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 199-212, September.
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