Economics External Seminar: Dan Bogart (UC-Irvine)

27 March 2019, 1.00 PM - 27 March 2019, 2.00 PM

Dan Bogart (UC-Irvine)

1B6 Priory Road Complex

Title: Were railways indispensable for urbanisation? evidence from England and Wales

Abstract: England and Wales underwent a remarkable urbanisation during the railway era in the nineteenth century. Yet this economy was already industrialised with well-developed transport infrastructure prior to railways. This raises the question of whether railways were indispensable for urbanisation over the medium and long term. In this paper, we examine the population growth effects of being close to railway stations versus being close to turnpike roads, inland waterways, and ports. Our estimates show that being within a short commuting or shipping distance to all infrastructures significantly increased a locality's population growth from 1841 to 1891. The same is true for population growth from 1891 to 2011. Across numerous specifications, we find that railways had the largest growth effects, but turnpike roads and inland waterways had significant effects too, and even more so for ports. Our estimates contribute to a deeper understanding of the spatial patterns of growth during the industrial revolution and the effects of transport infrastructure on long-run urbanisation.


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