EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Transportation and development: insights from the U.S., 1840-1860

Berthold Herrendorf (), James Schmitz () and Arilton Teixeira ()

No 425, Staff Report from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Abstract: We study the effects of large transportation costs on economic development. We argue that the Midwest and the Northeast of the U.S. is a natural case because starting from 1840 decent data is available showing that the two regions shared key characteristics with today?s developing countries and that transportation costs were large and then came way down. To disentangle the effects of the large reduction in transportation costs from those of other changes that happened during 1840?1860, we build a model that speaks to the distribution of people across regions and across the sectors of production. We find that the large reduction in transportation costs was a quantitatively important force behind the settlement of the Midwest and the regional specialization that concentrated agriculture in the Midwest and industry in the Northeast. Moreover, we find that it led to the convergence of the regional per capita incomes measured in current regional prices and that it increased real GDP per capita. However, the increase in real GDP per capita is considerably smaller than that resulting from the productivity growth in the nontransportation sectors.

Keywords: Transportation; Developing countries; Middle West (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-ure
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/SR/SR425.pdf
http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=4212 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Transportation and Development:Insights from the U.S. 1840-1860 (2009) Downloads
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:fip:fedmsr:425

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Staff Report from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2021-01-17
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:425