Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2374296
 


 



Agriculture, Transportation and the Timing of Urbanization: Global Analysis at the Grid Cell Level


Mesbah Motamed


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Raymond J.G.M. Florax


Purdue University; VU University Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics

William A. Masters


Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition - Department of Food and Nutrition Policy

November 29, 2013

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 14-002/VIII

Abstract:     
This paper addresses the timing of a location's historical transition from rural to urban activity. We test whether urbanization occurs sooner in places with higher agricultural potential and comparatively lower transport costs, using worldwide data that divide the earth's surface at half-degree intervals into 62,290 cells. From an independent estimate of each cell's rural and urban population history over the last 2,000 years, we identify the date at which each cell achieves various thresholds of urbanization. Controlling for unobserved heterogeneity across countries through fixed effects and using a variety of spatial econometric techniques, we find a robust association between earlier urbanization and agro-climatic suitability for cultivation, having seasonal frosts, better access to the ocean or navigable rivers, and lower elevation. These geographic correlations become smaller in magnitude as urbanization proceeds, and there is some variance in effect sizes across continents. Aggregating cells into countries, we show that an earlier urbanization date is associated with higher per capita income today.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Economic growth, economic geography, urbanization, agriculture, transportation

JEL Classification: C21, N50, O11, O18, R1

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Date posted: January 4, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Motamed, Mesbah and Florax, Raymond J.G.M. and Masters, William A., Agriculture, Transportation and the Timing of Urbanization: Global Analysis at the Grid Cell Level (November 29, 2013). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 14-002/VIII. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2374296 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2374296

Contact Information

Mesbah Motamed (Contact Author)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ( email )
1 Credit Union Place, Suite 320
Harrisburg, PA 17110
United States
Raymond J.G.M. Florax
Purdue University ( email )
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1145
United States
(765) 494-4300 (Phone)
(765) 494-9176 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~rflorax/
VU University Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics ( email )
De Boelelaan 1105
1081HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 444 6092 (Phone)
+31 20 444 6004 (Fax)
William A. Masters
Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition - Department of Food and Nutrition Policy ( email )
150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
United States
HOME PAGE: http://sites.tufts.edu/willmasters
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