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Does European development have Roman roots? Evidence from the German Limes

Fabian Wahl ()

Journal of Economic Growth, 2017, vol. 22, issue 3, 313-349

Abstract: Abstract This paper contributes to the understanding of the long-run consequences of Roman rule on economic development. In ancient times, the area of contemporary Germany was divided into a Roman and a non-Roman part. The study uses this division to test whether the formerly Roman part of Germany are more developed than the non-Roman part. This is done using the Limes Germanicus wall as geographical discontinuity in a regression discontinuity design framework. The results indicate that economic development—as measured by luminosity—is indeed significantly and robustly larger in the formerly Roman part of Germany. The study identifies the persistence of the Roman road network until the present as an important factor causing this developmental advantage of the formerly Roman part of Germany both by fostering city growth and by allowing for a denser road network.

Keywords: Roman Empire; Economic development; Germany; Boundary discontinuity; Transport infrastructure; Persistence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N13 N73 O18 R12 R40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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