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The determinants of local population growth: A study of Oxfordshire in the nineteenth century


  • Casson, Mark


This paper presents a new econometric model for analysing population growth at the village and town level. It develops and applies a theory of the equilibrium distribution of population over space. The theory emphasises geographical fundamentals, such as rivers as transport corridors, and soil types that govern agricultural specialisation; also institutional factors such as town government, market charters and the concentration of land ownership. Nineteenth century Oxfordshire is used as a case study, but the method can also be applied at a multi-county and national level. The results show that the development of railways in nineteenth-century Oxfordshire accelerated a long-term shake-out in the market system, whereby rural markets disappeared and urban markets grew. This shake-out had significant implications for population growth at the local level.

Suggested Citation

  • Casson, Mark, 2013. "The determinants of local population growth: A study of Oxfordshire in the nineteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 28-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:28-45
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.09.003

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    More about this item


    Population; Growth; Railway; Market town; Oxfordshire;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products


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