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The development of cities in Italy 1300 - 1861

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The evolution of city growth is usually studied for relatively short time periods. The rise and decline of cities is, however, typically a process that takes many decades or even centuries. In this paper we study the evolution of Italian cities over the period 1300-1861. The first contribution of our paper is that we use various descriptive statistics on individual city sizes and the city-size distribution as a whole to highlight the main characteristics of Italy s urban system such as the differences between northern and southern Italy. Our second, and main, contribution is that our data allow for panel estimation where city-size is regressed on various geographical, political and other determinants of city size for the period 1300-1861. We show that, although large shocks such as the plague epidemics are clearly visible in the data, the main determinants of Italy s city growth invariably are physical geography and political predominance. Also the North-South difference turns out to be important.

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E. Maarten Bosker, Steven Brakman, Harry Garretsen, Herman de Jong, Marc Schramm

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Adapt according to the presented license agreement and reference the original author.