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Portage: path dependence and increasing returns in U.S. history

Hoyt Bleakley and Jeffrey Lin

No 10-27, Working Papers from Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Abstract: The authors examine portage sites in the U.S. South, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including those on the fall line, a geomorphologic feature in the southeastern U.S. marking the final rapids on rivers before the ocean. Historically, waterborne transport of goods required portage around the falls at these points, while some falls provided water power during early industrialization. These factors attracted commerce and manufacturing. Although these original advantages have long since been made obsolete, the authors document the continuing-and even increasing-importance of these portage sites over time. They interpret this finding in a model with path dependence arising from local increasing returns to scale.

Keywords: Geography; Urban economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-his and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7)

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