Stephen Redding, 22 October 2018

What accounts for London's explosive growth in the 19th and early 20th centuries? Tim Phillips talks to Stephen Redding of Princeton University about new research that shows how important the railways have been, and continue to be, in creating the modern metropolis.

Alexandra de Pleijt, Alessandro Nuvolari, Jacob Weisdorf, 20 October 2018

While technological progress has typically been seen as increasing the demand for skilled workers since the beginning of the 20th century,  technological change has historically been associated with ‘de-skilling’. This column explores how the advent of the steam engine affected human capital formation in industrialising England. More steam engines per person are found to be associated with lower shares of unskilled workers. The results run contrary to the workshop-to-factory argument of skilled workers’ downward mobility, pointing instead to a farm work-to-factory transition. 

Stephan Heblich, Stephen Redding, Daniel Sturm, 13 October 2018

Over the last two centuries, transportation innovations have drastically changed urban landscapes. This column explores how the mid-19th century transport revolution shaped the urban agglomeration of London. The results show Greater London’s population would have been 30% lower in 1921 without the railway network. The findings and the quantitative urban models employed highlight the role of modern transport technologies in sustaining dense concentrations of economic activity.

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