Transportation and regional inequality: the impact of railways in the Nordic countries, 1860-1960
MetadataShow full item record
Before industrialisation the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) were part of Europe's poor periphery, but over the last century these countries have become some of the richest in the world. This article analyses the origins of Nordic growth from the late nineteenth century, focusing on a previously neglected topic: the role of transportation. We argue that transportation, and most notably large investments in railways, played a key role in Nordic industrialisation. Railways made the exploitation and exportation of natural resources possible in what had previously been isolated areas and helped fuel a process of rural-based industrialisation. By creating conditions that favoured migration towards previously scarcely populated, but economically booming areas, Nordic industrialisation was paralleled by a reduction in regional inequality as measured in per capita GDP. We assert that railways were built before local population growth and helped shape the economic landscape of the entire region. We illustrate these points using maps based on Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) highlighting railways, regional GDP and population densities from the mid nineteenth century until 1960.
Is part ofJournal of Historical Geography, 2018, vol. 62, p. 51-70
European research projects
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Shaping the Common Ground: State-Building, the Railway Network, and Regional Development in Finland Alvarez Palau, Eduard; Martí Henneberg, Jordi (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2020-11-06)Transport infrastructure played a key role in redefining Finland's economic geography. An empirical investigation involving new gis databases that combine data about railways, population, and administrative boundaries at ...
Stanev Stanev, Kaloyan; Alvarez Palau, Eduard; Martí Henneberg, Jordi (Taylor & Francis, 2017-12-19)This article uses the evolution of the railways to examine the relationship between the level of economic integration and external political influences in the Balkans over a period of 150 years. The analysis focuses on two ...
Urban Growth and Long-Term Transformations in Spanish Cities Since the Mid-Nineteenth Century: A Methodology to Determine Changes in Urban Density. Alvarez Palau, Eduard; Martí Henneberg, Jordi; Solanas, Jorge (MDPI, 2019-12-15)The current work models urban growth in the continuous built-up areas of 47 Spanish cities from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day. We did this by compiling a comprehensive Geographic Information System ...