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Railroads, Economic Development, and the Demographic Transition in the United States

Katz‬‏, ‪Ori

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: 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
Date: 2018-08-14
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