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Borders, Market Size and Urban Growth, The Case of Saxon Towns and the Zollverein in the 19th Century

  • Florian Ploeckl

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Yale University)

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    Changes in trade institutions, such as the abolishment of tariff barriers, have a potentially strong impact on economic development. The Zollverein, the 1834 customs union between German states, erased borders in much of central Europe. This paper investigates the Zollverein's economic impact through a study of urban population and its growth in the German state of Saxony. A model of the effect of market access on urban growth is combined with an extensive data set on town populations in Saxony and its neighbors as well as an improved distance measure based on GIS techniques, which take into account elevation patterns, roads, and rivers. The results show that Zollverein membership led to significantly higher growth for towns close to the border with fellow Zollverein member Thuringia. They also illustrate that natural resources affect town size but not the growth pattern after the Zollverein. The effects of changes in market access were reinforced through the impact on market access in other towns and they were stronger for larger towns as well. Migration was the predominant source of the differential growth pattern.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp966.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 966.

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    Length: 62 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:966
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    1. Shiue, Carol H., 2005. "From political fragmentation towards a customs union: Border effects of the German Zollverein, 1815 to 1855," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 129-162, August.
    2. Florian Ploeckl, 2015. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," School of Economics Working Papers 2015-08, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    3. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
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    5. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law and the Growth of Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 129-132, May.
    6. Xavier Gabaix & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2003. "The Evolution of City Size Distributions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0310, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    8. Matthieu Crozet, 2004. "Do migrants follow market potentials? An estimation of a new economic geography model," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-458, August.
    9. Thierry Mayer & Keith Head, 2002. "Illusory Border Effects: Distance Mismeasurement Inflates Estimates of Home Bias in Trade," Working Papers 2002-01, CEPII research center.
    10. 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.
    11. Maarten Bosker & Harry Garretsen, 2007. "Trade Costs, Market Access and Economic Geography: Why the Empirical Specification of Trade Costs Matters," CESifo Working Paper Series 2071, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. 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.
    13. Beeson, Patricia E. & DeJong, David N. & Troesken, Werner, 2001. "Population growth in U.S. counties, 1840-1990," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 669-699, November.
    14. S. Brakman & H Garretsen & M. Schramm, 2004. "The Spatial Distribution of Wages:Estimating the Helpman-Hanson model for Germany," Working Papers 03-09, Utrecht School of Economics.
    15. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
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