Does European Development Have Roman Roots? Evidence from the German Limes

126 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2015 Last revised: 6 Aug 2017

See all articles by Fabian Wahl

Fabian Wahl

University of Hohenheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 22, 2016

Abstract

This paper contributes to the understanding of the long-run consequences of Roman rule on economic development. In ancient times, the area of contemporary Germany was divided into a Roman and non-Roman part. The study uses this division to test whether the formerly Roman part of Germany show a higher nightlight luminosity than the non-Roman part. This is done by using the Limes wall as geographical discontinuity in a regression discontinuity design framework. The results indicate that economic development -- as measured by luminosity -- is indeed significantly and robustly larger in the formerly Roman parts of Germany. The study identifies the persistence of the Roman road network until the present as an important factor causing this development advantage of the formerly Roman part of Germany both by fostering city growth and by allowing for a denser road network.

Keywords: Roman Empire, Economic Development, Germany, Boundary Discontinuity, Transport Infrastructure, City Growth, Persistence

JEL Classification: N13, N73, O18, R12, R40

Suggested Citation

Wahl, Fabian, Does European Development Have Roman Roots? Evidence from the German Limes (December 22, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2634348 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2634348

Fabian Wahl (Contact Author)

University of Hohenheim - Department of Economics ( email )

Wollgrasweg 49
Stuttgart, 70599
Germany
+49711-45924405 (Phone)

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