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