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Gateway cities and urbanisation in southeast asia before world war II

  • Gregg Huff

    ()

    (Pembroke College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 1DW, UK)

Between the 1870s and World War II, falls in world shipping costs and Western industrialisation gave rise to export-led Southeast Asian growth and specialization in a narrow range of primary commodity exports. A linked development was the emergence of a few dominant Southeast Asian urban centres, typically primate and always ports. Drawing on historical census data, this paper uses rank-size distributions and transition matrices to investigate the influence of commodity specialisation and exports on urban systems development in the region. It is argued that different commodities produced different spread effects, resulting in variation in degrees of urban concentration in the region. However, geography, path dependence and infrastructure also shaped urban systems development. The main cities that emerged during this period became the ‘gateways’ that connected frontier Southeast Asia to the global economy.

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Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Oxford University Economic and Social History Series with number _096.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 22 Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_096
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Nitsch, Volker, 2003. "Does history matter for urban primacy? The case of Vienna," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 401-418, July.
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  8. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1996. "The role of ports in the making of major cities: Self-agglomeration and hub-effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 93-120, April.
  9. Fletcher, Max E., 1958. "The Suez Canal and World Shipping, 1869-1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 556-573, December.
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  11. Odell, Kerry A. & Weiman, David F., 1998. "Metropolitan Development, Regional Financial Centers, and the Founding of the Fed in the Lower South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 103-125, March.
  12. Henderson, Vernon, 2003. " The Urbanization Process and Economic Growth: The So-What Question," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 47-71, March.
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