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Transportation and regional inequality: the impact of railways in the Nordic countries, 1860–1960

Enflo, Kerstin LU ; Alvarez-Palau, Eduard and Marti-Henneberg, Jordi (2018) In Journal of Historical Geography 62. p.51-70
Abstract
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... (More)
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. (Less)
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author
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Regional inequality, Railways, Historical GIS, Population growth, Economic growth, Nordic countries
in
Journal of Historical Geography
volume
62
pages
20 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85048099841
ISSN
0305-7488
DOI
10.1016/j.jhg.2018.05.001
project
The evolution regional economies in the Nordic region – A long run approach
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2be939af-436b-442a-a301-1725fa16ac97
date added to LUP
2018-06-08 11:20:17
date last changed
2020-12-29 03:06:36
@article{2be939af-436b-442a-a301-1725fa16ac97,
  abstract     = {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.},
  author       = {Enflo, Kerstin and Alvarez-Palau, Eduard and Marti-Henneberg, Jordi},
  issn         = {0305-7488},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  pages        = {51--70},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Historical Geography},
  title        = {Transportation and regional inequality: the impact of railways in the Nordic countries, 1860–1960},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2018.05.001},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.jhg.2018.05.001},
  volume       = {62},
  year         = {2018},
}