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Locomotives of local growth: The short- and long-term impact of railroads in Sweden

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  • Berger, Thor
  • Enflo, Kerstin

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of railroads on 150years of urban growth in Sweden, identifying the short- and long-term effects of a first wave of railroad construction. Difference-in-differences and instrumental variable estimates show that towns that gained access experienced substantial relative increases in population, though such growth mainly reflected a relocation of economic activity. Over the twentieth century, we find little evidence of convergence in town populations, despite the railroad network expanding further to connect nearly all towns. Evidence on historical investments and present-day factors is consistent with the idea that the transitory shock of the first railroads gave rise to path dependence in the location of economic activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Thor & Enflo, Kerstin, 2017. "Locomotives of local growth: The short- and long-term impact of railroads in Sweden," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 124-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:124-138
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2015.09.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Urban growth; Transport infrastructure; Railroads; Path dependence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General

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