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Space, settlements, towns: the influence of geography and market access on settlement distribution and urbanization

  • Florian Ploeckl

    ()

    (University of Oxford)

The spatial distribution of economic activity is strongly linked to the structure of the urban system. The origin and development of the spatial pattern of this system is separated into two stages, the diffusion of settlements and their potential transition to urban status. The theoretical framework incorporates the influence of geographic characteristics and location interdependence as central mechanisms in both stages. Their relative importance for both is tested empirically with the historical settlement pattern in Saxony as a case study. After investigating with a spatial point process approach how geographic endowments and location interdependence shape the spatial distribution of all settlements within the state, I apply a spatial probit estimation to determine how these endowments and interdependence, which resembles a market access effect, influence the likelihood that a settlement transitioned to a town. The results indicate that geographic factors are the primary influence on the spatial distribution and urbanization of settlements, while the spatial relationship has a significant but small clustering impact. Furthermore the determinants of the spatial distribution of size based and institutional towns are compared, demonstrating that the influence of location interdependence is quite close, while there are some significant differences in the influence of physical geography.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2012/23.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-23
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  1. Florian Ploeckl, 2011. "Towns (and Villages); Definitions and Implications in a Historical Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 536, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Florian Ploeckl, 2010. "The Zollverein and the Formation of a Customs Union," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _084, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2009. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ploeckl, Florian, 2012. "Endowments and market access; the size of towns in historical perspective: Saxony, 1550–1834," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 607-618.
  5. Ploeckl, Florian, 2008. "Borders, Market Size and Urban Growth, The Case of Saxon Towns and the Zollverein in the 19th Century," Working Papers 55, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  6. Adrian Baddeley & Rolf Turner, . "spatstat: An R Package for Analyzing Spatial Point Patterns," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(i06).
  7. Florian Ploeckl, 2008. "Borders, Market Size and Urban Growth, The Case of Saxon Towns and the Zollverein in the 19th Century," Working Papers 966, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
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