EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Towns (and villages): definitions and implications in a historical setting

Florian Ploeckl ()

Cliometrica, 2017, vol. 11, issue 2, No 5, 269-287

Abstract: Abstract The measurement of urbanization rates and other uses of statistical information, for example the use of historical town growth to measure long-term economic growth, are usually based on an ad hoc population threshold to define and practically classify settlements as towns. The method, however, trades off accuracy and precision for convenience and simplicity. This paper proposes a new threshold that uses the town size distribution together with agricultural data to derive an appropriate cutoff value. The relevance of agricultural income is integrated into the classification scheme through the differential effect of local agricultural endowments on settlement size. The threshold is chosen such that the size of towns above the cutoff is statistically not influenced by local agricultural endowments, while the size of villages, which is below the threshold, is indeed shaped by them. This new approach is practically demonstrated with an application to the urban system of the nineteenth century in the German region of Saxony. This setting is used to investigate the relevance of a different classification for the development of urbanization over time and Gibrat’s law. The results demonstrate that the underlying classification scheme matters strongly for the conclusions drawn from historical urban data. They also indicate that the use of a common population threshold for a comparative analysis or temporal comparisons in a historical context increases the misclassifications of settlements.

Keywords: Towns; Villages; Geography; Definition; Classification; Town size (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B49 N93 O13 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11698-016-0145-6 Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:spr:cliomt:v:11:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0145-6

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11698

DOI: 10.1007/s11698-016-0145-6

Access Statistics for this article

Cliometrica is currently edited by Claude Diebolt

More articles in Cliometrica from Springer, Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie) Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

 
Page updated 2022-06-02
Handle: RePEc:spr:cliomt:v:11:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0145-6