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Depth to Bedrock and the Formation of the Manhattan Skyline, 1890–1915




New York City historiography holds that Manhattan developed two business centers—downtown and midtown—because the bedrock is close to the surface at these locations, with a bedrock “valley” in between. This article is the first effort to measure the effect of depth to bedrock on construction costs and the location of skyscrapers. We find that while depth to bedrock had a modest effect on costs (up to 7 percent), it had relatively little influence on the location of skyscrapers. null

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  • Barr, Jason & Tassier, Troy & Trendafilov, Rossen, 2011. "Depth to Bedrock and the Formation of the Manhattan Skyline, 1890–1915," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 1060-1077, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:71:y:2011:i:04:p:1060-1077_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
    2. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, March.
    3. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pakes, Ariel S, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 755-784, July.
    6. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, November.
    7. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    8. Kirsten Labuske & Jochen Streb, 2008. "Technological Creativity and Cheap Labour? Explaining the Growing International Competitiveness of German Mechanical Engineering before World War I," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 65-86, February.
    9. Streb, Jochen & Wallusch, Jacek & Yin, Shuxi, 2007. "Knowledge spill-over from new to old industries: The case of German synthetic dyes and textiles (1878-1913)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 203-223, April.
    10. Jochen Streb & Jörg Baten & Shuxi Yin, 2006. "Technological and geographical knowledge spillover in the German empire 1877-1918," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(2), pages 347-373, May.
    11. Sullivan, Richard J, 1994. "Estimates of the Value of Patent Rights in Great Britain and Ireland, 1852-1876," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(241), pages 37-58, February.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Birth of Height: The World’s First Skyscraper
      by Jason Barr in Building the skyline on 2017-10-07 19:18:55

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