What Do Street Names Tell Us? The 'City-Text' as Socio-Cultural Data
Journal of Economic Geography, Forthcoming
28 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2016 Last revised: 15 Aug 2017
Date Written: September 8, 2016
This paper shows that street names provide a very valuable source of information for quantitative empirical analysis in social sciences. They reflect the cumulative commemorative decisions of municipalities and, as such, can be used as proxies for their historical and cultural characteristics, which is particularly useful given the scarcity of cultural data at the local level. The use of street names as a data source is illustrated through the construction of an indicator of religiosity, which enables us to discuss theoretical and methodological issues, as well as show that the indicator is strongly correlated with the cultural factor it is supposed to capture. Finally, the article explores a range of potential empirical applications to important topics in social sciences.
Keywords: Street names, city-text, quantitative empirical analysis, culture, religiosity, local-level analysis
JEL Classification: O18, R19, Z12, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation