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The Permanent Effects of Transportation Revolutions in Poor Countries: Evidence from Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Remi Jedwab

    (George Washington University)

  • Alexander Moradi

    (University of Sussex, University of Oxford, and Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

We exploit the construction and eventual demise of the colonial railroads in Ghana, and most of the rest of Africa, to study the impact of transportation investments in poor countries. Using new data on railroads and cities spanning over one century, we find that railroads had large effects on the distribution of economic activity during the colonial period and these effects have persisted to date, although railroads collapsed and road networks expanded considerably after independence. Initial transportation investments may thus have large effects in poor countries. As countries develop, increasing returns solidify their spatial distribution, and subsequent investments may have smaller effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Remi Jedwab & Alexander Moradi, 2016. "The Permanent Effects of Transportation Revolutions in Poor Countries: Evidence from Africa," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 268-284, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:98:y:2016:i:2:p:268-284
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Transportation; Railroads; Development; Cities; Path Dependence; Roads;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania

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