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Locomotives of Local Growth: The Short- and Long-Term Impact of Railroads in Sweden

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  • Thor Berger

    () (Lund University)

  • Kerstin Enflo

    () (Lund University)

Abstract

This paper uses city-level data to examine the impact of a first wave of railroad construction in Sweden, between 1855 and 1870, from the 19th century until today. We estimate that railroads accounted for 50% of urban growth, 1855-1870. In cities with access to the railroad network, property values were higher, manufacturing employment increased, establishments were larger, and more information was distributed through local post offices. Today, cities with early access to the network are 62% larger and to be found 11 steps higher in the urban hierarchy, compared to initially similar cities. We hypothesize that railroads set in motion a path dependent process that shapes the economic geography of Sweden today.

Suggested Citation

  • Thor Berger & Kerstin Enflo, 2013. "Locomotives of Local Growth: The Short- and Long-Term Impact of Railroads in Sweden," Working Papers 0042, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0042
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What Chance Change? Driving Development through Transport Infrastructure
      by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2014-05-14 14:22:40

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    Cited by:

    1. Maravall Buckwalter, Laura, 2018. "Build It, and They Will Come? Secondary Railways and Population Density in French Algeria," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 26738, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    2. Büchel, Konstantin & Kyburz, Stephan, 2018. "Fast track to growth? Railway access, population growth and local displacement in 19th century Switzerland," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88689, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. repec:eee:trapol:v:63:y:2018:i:c:p:108-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tyrefors Hinnerich, Bjorn & Lindgren, Erik & Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2017. "Political Power, Resistance to Technological Change and Economic Development: Evidence from the 19th century Sweden," Research Papers in Economics 2017:5, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    5. repec:jed:journl:v:42:y:2017:i:3:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Pfeifer, Gregor & Wahl, Fabian & Marczak, Martyna, 2016. "Illuminating the world cup effect: Night lights evidence from South Africa," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 16-2016, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    7. Hanedar, Avni Önder, 2013. "Transportation Infrastructure and Economic Growth in a Dissolving Country: (Ir)relevance of Railroads in the Ottoman Empire," MPRA Paper 77974, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Apr 2017.
    8. Bertazzini, Mattia C., 2018. "The long-term impact of Italian colonial roads in the Horn of Africa, 1935-2000," Economic History Working Papers 87074, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    9. repec:eee:exehis:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Enflo, Kerstin, 2014. "Finland’s regional GDPs 1880-2010: estimates, sources and interpretations," Lund Papers in Economic History 135, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    11. Stef Proost & Jacques-Francois Thisse, 2017. "What Can Be Learned from Spatial Economics?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 167/EC/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    12. Stephan Fretz & Raphaël Parchet & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2017. "Highways, Market Access and Spatial Sorting," SERC Discussion Papers 0227, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    13. 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.
    14. Lin, Jeffrey, 2015. "The puzzling persistence of place," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q2, pages 1-8.
    15. Brata, Aloysius Gunadi, 2017. "Exploring the Influence of Colonial Railways on Java's Economic Geography," MPRA Paper 80097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Rui Manuel Pereira, Alfredo Marvao Pereira and William J. Hausman, 2017. "Railroad Infrastructure Investments and Economic Development in the Antebellum United States," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 1-16, September.
    17. Konstantin Büchel & Stephan Kyburz, 2018. "Fast Track to Growth? Railway Access, Population Growth and Local Displacement in 19th Century Switzerland," CEP Discussion Papers dp1538, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    18. repec:kap:jecgro:v:22:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9144-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. João Pereira dos Santos & David B. Audretsch & Dirk Christian Dohse, 2018. "The Effects of Highway Tolls on Private Business Activity – Results from a Natural Experiment," GEE Papers 0107, Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos, Ministério da Economia, revised Jun 2018.
    20. Florian Mayneris, 2017. "Effets des infrastructures de transport sur le niveau et la localisation des activités économiques," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Railroads; Industrialization; Urban Growth; Path Dependence.;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • 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

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