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Trade, Merchants, and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age

Gojko Barjamovic, Thomas Chaney (), A. Kerem Coşar and Ali Hortaçsu

No 23992, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We analyze a large dataset of commercial records produced by Assyrian merchants in the 19th Century BCE. Using the information collected from these records, we estimate a structural gravity model of long-distance trade in the Bronze Age. We use our structural gravity model to locate lost ancient cities. In many instances, our structural estimates confirm the conjectures of historians who follow different methodologies. In some instances, our estimates confirm one conjecture against others. Confronting our structural estimates for ancient city sizes to modern data on population, income, and regional trade, we document persistent patterns in the distribution of city sizes across four millennia, even after controlling for time-invariant geographic attributes such as agricultural suitability. Finally, we offer evidence in support of the hypothesis that large cities tend to emerge at the intersections of natural transport routes, as dictated by topography.

JEL-codes: N15 N7 N75 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-his and nep-ure
Date: 2017-11
Note: ITI
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Published as Gojko Barjamovic & Thomas Chaney & Kerem Coşar & Ali Hortaçsu, 2019. "Trade, Merchants, and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age*," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 134(3), pages 1455-1503.

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Working Paper: Trade, Merchants and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Trade, Merchants and Lost Cities of the Bronze Age (2017) Downloads
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