Quantitative Economic Geography Meets History: Questions, Answers and Challenges

Abstract

A rapidly growing literature uses quantitative general equilibrium models of economic geography to study the economic impact of historical events such as the railroad revolution, industrial take-off, structural transformation and wars. I identify three key challenges facing this literature: the tractability of model structure, the availability of historical data, and issues related to identification. I review the literature by discussing how it has been addressing each of these challenges. While doing so, I point out the rich set of questions that this literature can address, as well as the methodological innovations it has conducted to answer these questions.

Forthcoming Regional Science and Urban Economics