From Baghdad to London: The Dynamics of Urban Growth in Europe and the Arab World, 800-1800
Maarten Bosker (),
Eltjo Buringh and
Jan Luiten van Zanden
No 6833, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers
On the basis of a large (new) dataset of cities in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East in the millennium between 800 and 1800, we try to provide an answer to the question why, during this millennium, the urban center of gravity moved from Iraq (or more generally the Arab world) to Western Europe and to the shores of the Atlantic (during the 17th and 18th century) in particular. We study the characteristics of the European and Arab urban systems involved, amongst others focusing on the interaction between cities, and explain why one system was much more dynamic in the long run than the other. Also we assess the importance of various geographical, religious and institutional factors as the driving forces of urban expansion. Overall, we provide a better understanding of the dynamics of urban growth in the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution and an answer to the question why London, an economic backwater in 800, was able to overtake Baghdad, in 800 the thriving capital of the Abbasid caliphate, as the largest city in this part of the world.
Keywords: long term urban development; Arab world; economic history; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N10 N90 R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa, nep-geo, nep-his and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (8) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at email@example.com
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6833
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... ers/dp.php?dpno=6833
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers
Address: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Series data maintained by (). This e-mail address is bad, please contact .