Railroads, Economic Development, and the Demographic Transition in the United States
MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany
This paper estimates the impact of railroads in the United States between 1850 and 1910 on economic development, fertility, and human capital. A novel identification strategy, which relies on a dynamic instrument, allows me to control for unobservables using county fixed effects. I find that railroads shifted the distribution of occupations and industries, had a large positive effect on human capital levels, and a large negative effect on fertility rates. Further analysis suggests that the impact of railroads was larger in counties that were initially more developed. I examine possible mechanisms that drive the effects and lead to this heterogeneity.
Keywords: Railroads; Fertility; Human Capital; Industrialization; Development; Transportation; Economic Growth; Great Divergence; Demographic Transition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J11 N11 N71 O1 O14 O18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro, nep-his and nep-lab
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:88869
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