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Railroads, Economic Development, and the Demographic Transition in the United States

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  • Katz‬‏, ‪Ori

Abstract

This paper estimates the impact of railroads in the United States between 1850 and 1910 on economic development, fertility, and human capital. A novel identification strategy, which relies on a dynamic instrument, allows me to control for unobservables using county fixed effects. I find that railroads shifted the distribution of occupations and industries, had a large positive effect on human capital levels, and a large negative effect on fertility rates. Further analysis suggests that the impact of railroads was larger in counties that were initially more developed. I examine possible mechanisms that drive the effects and lead to this heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Katz‬‏, ‪Ori, 2018. "Railroads, Economic Development, and the Demographic Transition in the United States," MPRA Paper 88869, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:88869
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/88869/1/MPRA_paper_88869.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Railroads; Fertility; Human Capital; Industrialization; Development; Transportation; Economic Growth; Great Divergence; Demographic Transition;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N71 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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