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Resetting the Urban Network 117-2012

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  • Ferdinand Rauch

    (Oxford)

Abstract

Do locational fundamentals such as coastlines and rivers determine town locations, or can historical events trap towns in unfavorable locations for centuries? We examine the effects on town locations of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, which temporarily ended urbanization in Britain, but not in France. As urbanization recovered, medieval towns were more often found in Roman-era town locations in France than in Britain, and this difference persists today. The resetting of Britain's urban network gave it better access to natural navigable waterways when this was important, while many French towns remained without such access. We show that towns without coastal access grew more slowly in both Britain and France from 1200-1800, and calculate that with better coastal access, France's urban network would have been up to 20-30 percent larger in 1800.

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  • Ferdinand Rauch, 2015. "Resetting the Urban Network 117-2012," 2015 Meeting Papers 203, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:203
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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