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History and Urban Economics

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  • W. Walker Hanlon
  • Stephan Heblich

Abstract

This article reviews recent literature using insights from history to answer central questions in urban economics. This area of research has seen rapid growth in the past decade, thanks to new technologies that have made available increasingly rich data stretching far back in time. The focus is to review innovative methods to exploit historical information and discuss applications of these data that provide new insights into (i) the long run growth of cities or regional economies and (ii) the spatial organization of economic activities within cities. The review also surveys the growing literature outside urban economics that uses the historical urbanization as a proxy for economic growth, discusses differences between how economic historians and urban economists think about the relationship between urbanization and growth, and considers how these views might be reconciled.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Walker Hanlon & Stephan Heblich, 2020. "History and Urban Economics," NBER Working Papers 27850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27850
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    Cited by:

    1. David Krisztián Nagy, 2020. "Quantitative economic geography meets history: Questions, answers and challenges," Economics Working Papers 1774, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2021.
    2. Guglielmo Barone & Guido de Blasio & Elena Gentili, 2020. "Politically connected cities: Italy 1951-1991," Working Papers wp1158, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Dávid Krisztián Nagy, 2021. "Quantitative Economic Geography Meets History: Questions, Answers and Challenges," Working Papers 1249, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General

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