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Industrialization and Urbanization: Did the Steam Engine Contribute to the Growth of Cities in the United States?

  • Sukkoo Kim
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    Industrialization and urbanization are seen as interdependent processes of modern economic development. However, the exact nature of their causal relationship is still open to considerable debate. This paper uses firm-level data from the manuscripts of the decennial censuses between 1850 and 1880 to examine whether the adoption of the steam engine as the primary power source by manufacturers during industrialization contributed to urbanization. While the data indicate that steam-powered firms were more likely to locate in urban areas than water-powered firms, the adoption of the steam engine did not contribute substantially to urbanization.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11206.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11206.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2005
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    Publication status: published as Kim, Sukkoo. "Industrialization And Urbanization: Did The Steam Engine Contribute To The Growth Of Cities In The United States?," Explorations in Economic History, 2005, v42(4,Oct), 586-598.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11206
    Note: DAE
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    1. Nicholas Crafts, 2004. "Steam as a general purpose technology: A growth accounting perspective," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 338-351, 04.
    2. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Productivity in Manufacturing and the Length of the Working Day: Evidence from the 1880 Census of Manufactures," Macroeconomics 0012003, EconWPA.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2004. "Was 19th century British growth steam-powered?: the climacteric revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 156-171, April.
    4. Atack, Jeremy, 1979. "Fact in fiction? The relative costs of steam and water power: a simulation approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 409-437, October.
    5. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2004. "Skill Intensity and Rising Wage Dispersion in Nineteenth-Century American Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 172-192, March.
    6. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2002. "Part-Year Operation In Nineteenth-Century American Manufacturing: Evidence From The 1870 And 1880 Censuses," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 792-809, September.
    7. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1990. "Matching and agglomeration economies in a system of cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 189-212, September.
    8. Kim, Sunwoong, 1989. "Labor Specialization and the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 692-705, June.
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    1. Historical Economic Geography

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