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History, Path Dependence and Development: Evidence from Colonial Railroads, Settlers and Cities in Kenya

Author

Listed:
  • Remi Jedwab
  • Edward Kerby
  • Alexander Moradi

Abstract

Little is known about the extent and forces of urban path dependence in developing countries. Railroad construction in colonial Kenya provides a natural experiment to study the emergence and persistence of this spatial equilibrium. Using new data at a fine spatial level over one century shows that colonial railroads causally determined the location of European settlers, which in turn decided the location of the main cities of the country at independence. Railroads declined and settlers left after independence, yet cities persisted. Their early emergence served as a mechanism to coordinate investments in the post-independence period, yielding evidence for how path dependence influences development.

Suggested Citation

  • Remi Jedwab & Edward Kerby & Alexander Moradi, 2014. "History, Path Dependence and Development: Evidence from Colonial Railroads, Settlers and Cities in Kenya," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2014-04
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/csae-wps-2014-04.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Okoye, Dozie & Pongou, Roland, 2015. "Sea Change: The Competing Long-Run Impacts of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Missionary Activity in Africa," MPRA Paper 66221, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. 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.
    3. Gregor Pfeifer & Fabian Wahl & Martyna Marczak, 2018. "Illuminating the World Cup effect: Night lights evidence from South Africa," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 887-920, November.
    4. L. DeBenedictis & AM. Pinna, 2015. "Islands as 'Bad Geography'. Insularity, Connectedness, Trade Costs and Trade," Working Paper CRENoS 201504, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    5. Wouter Zant, 2018. "Trains, Trade, and Transaction Costs: How Does Domestic Trade by Rail Affect Market Prices of Malawi Agricultural Commodities?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(2), pages 334-356.
    6. David Stifel & Bart Minten & Bethlehem Koru, 2016. "Economic Benefits of Rural Feeder Roads: Evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(9), pages 1335-1356, September.
    7. Dozie Okoye & Roland Pongou & Tite Yokossi, 2016. "On the Dispensability of New Transportation Technologies : Evidence from Colonial Railroads in Nigeria," Working Papers 1620E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    8. Wahl, Fabian, 2015. "The long shadow of history: Roman legacy and economic development - evidence from the German limes," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 08-2015, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    9. Jeffrey Lin, 2015. "The puzzling persistence of place," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q2, pages 1-8.
    10. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Ross, Stephen L., 2015. "Change and Persistence in the Economic Status of Neighborhoods and Cities," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1047-1120, Elsevier.
    11. Jean-Francois Maystadt & Gilles Duranton, 2014. "The development push of refugees," Working Papers 66910685, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    12. Mesbah Motamed & Raymond Florax & William Masters, 2014. "Agriculture, transportation and the timing of urbanization: Global analysis at the grid cell level," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 339-368, September.
    13. Melissa Dell & Benjamin A. Olken, 2017. "The Development Effects of the Extractive Colonial Economy: The Dutch Cultivation System in Java," NBER Working Papers 24009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cemal Eren Arbatli & Gunes Gokmen, 2016. "Minorities, Human Capital and Long-Run Development: Persistence of Armenian and Greek Influence in Turkey," CESifo Working Paper Series 6268, CESifo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Path Dependence; Urbanisation; Transportation; Colonialism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • 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
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania

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