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Inter-Modal Network Externalities and Transport Development: Evidence from Roads, Canals, and Ports During the English Industrial Revolution

  • Dan Bogart


How does the development of one transport mode influence the development of another? This paper uses time-series data to test whether inter-model network externalities influenced the development of road, canal, and port infrastructure in England from 1760 to 1830. The main finding is that road development had a positive effect on canal development. The results suggest that the option value of investing in a canal in the future diminished when nearby road improvements were initiated because there was less uncertainty about future profits from canal tolls. They also suggest a reinterpretation of road transport in the Industrial Revolution and point to the general importance of inter-modal network externalities.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Networks and Spatial Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 309-338

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Handle: RePEc:kap:netspa:v:9:y:2009:i:3:p:309-338
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  1. Sala-I-Martin, X. & Barro, R.J., 1991. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Papers 640, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  2. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
  3. Pindyck, Robert, 1989. "Irreversibility, uncertainty, and investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 294, The World Bank.
  4. David M. Levinson, 2002. "Financing Transportation Networks," Books, Edward Elgar, number 2308, April.
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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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