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City seeds. Geography and the origins of the European city system

  • Bosker, Maarten
  • Buringh, Eltjo

Geography is widely viewed as the important determinant of city location. This paper empirically disentangles the different roles of geography in shaping the European city system. We present a new database that covers all actual cities as well as potential city locations over the period when the foundations for the European city system were laid. We relate each location’s urban chances to its physical, first nature, geography characteristics, and develop a novel empirical strategy to assess how the existing urban system surrounding each location (second nature geography) determines its urban prospects. First nature geography is the dominant determinant of city location until the sixteenth century. Second nature geography becomes important from the seventeenth century onwards, in a way that corresponds closely to predictions from new economic geography theory.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8066.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8066
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  1. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1996. "The role of ports in the making of major cities: Self-agglomeration and hub-effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 93-120, April.
  2. Yannis Ioannides & Henry G. Overman, 2000. "Spatial evolution of the US urban system," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20138, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Ivan Fernandez-Val, 2007. "Fixed Effects Estimation of Structural Parameters and Marginal Effects in Panel Probit Models," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-009, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  4. Bosker, Maarten & Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & De Jong, Herman & Schramm, Marc, 2008. "Ports, plagues and politics: explaining Italian city growth 1300–1861," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(01), pages 97-131, April.
  5. Carro, Jesus M., 2007. "Estimating dynamic panel data discrete choice models with fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 503-528, October.
  6. Gilles Duranton & Henry G. Overman, 2002. "Testing for localisation using micro-geographic data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20071, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Greif, Avner, 1992. "Institutions and International Trade: Lessons from the Commercial Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 128-33, May.
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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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