Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Does railway accessibility boost population growth? Evidence from unfinished historical roadways in France

Kakpo, Eliakim and Le Gallo, Julie and Grivault, Camille and Breuillé, Marie (2019): Does railway accessibility boost population growth? Evidence from unfinished historical roadways in France.

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Abstract

The railway revolution that swayed through Europe in the nineteenth century left a legacy of unexplored networks. In this paper, we observe a subset of unfinished railways to evaluate the impact of railroads on population growth. Using the random nature of the achieved portions, we compare municipalities located around the planned but not realized segment of the railways to those in the vicinity of the operated sections. Our results indicate that the railways boost population growth in the medium and long-run. However, the medium-run effects are only visible in municipalities with high pre-arrival population. The railroads also seem to have solved a coordination problem in the sense that treated municipalities were more likely to gain access to other transport infrastructures later.

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