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Railroads and Micro-regional Growth in Prussia

  • Erik Hornung


We study the effect of railroad access on urban population growth. Using GIS techniques,we match triennial population data for roughly 1000 cities in nineteenth-century Prussiato georeferenced maps of the German railroad network. We find positive short- andlong-term effects of having a station on urban growth for different periods during1840–1871. Causal effects of (potentially endogenous) railroad access on city growthare identified using instrumental variable and fixed-effects estimation techniques. Ourinstrument identifies exogenous variation in railroad access by constructing straight-linecorridors between terminal stations. Counterfactual models using pre-railroad growthyield no evidence in support of the hypothesis that railroads appeared as a consequenceof a previous growth spurt.

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Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Paper No. 127.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_127
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  1. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther & Qian, Nancy, 2012. "On the Road: Access to Transportation Infrastructure and Economic Growth in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 8874, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2013. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 9730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Davide Cantoni, 2015. "The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands," Working Papers 524, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2003. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Staff Reports 169, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeremiah E. Dittmar, 2011. "Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of The Printing Press," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1133-1172.
  9. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Michael Haines & Robert A. Margo, 2009. "Did Railroads Induce Or Follow Economic Growth? Urbanization And Population Growth In The American Midwest, 1850-60," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-178, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  10. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Nicolai Wendland, 2011. "Fifty years of urban accessibility: the impact of the urban railway network on the land gradient in Berlin 1890-1936," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29650, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Fremdling, Rainer, 1977. "Railroads and German Economic Growth: A Leading Sector Analysis with a Comparison to the United States and Great Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 583-604, September.
  12. Fogel, Robert William, 1962. "A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Railroads in American Economic Growth: A Report of Some Preliminary Findings," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 163-197, June.
  13. Florian Ploeckl, 2011. "Towns (and Villages); Definitions and Implications in a Historical Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 536, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  14. Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2008. "Institutions, Technology, and Trade," NBER Working Papers 13913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805, 05.
  16. Jeremy Atack & Michael R. Haines & Robert A. Margo, 2008. "Railroads and the Rise of the Factory: Evidence for the United States, 1850-70," NBER Working Papers 14410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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