On the Dispensability of New Transportation Technologies:Evidence from Colonial Railroads in Nigeria

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Title: On the Dispensability of New Transportation Technologies:Evidence from Colonial Railroads in Nigeria
Authors: Okoye, Dozie
Pongou, Roland
Yokossi, Tite
Date: 2016
Abstract: We examine Fogel’s influential hypothesis that new transportation technologies may be dispensable if pre-existing technologies are viable or can simply be improved. Exploiting the construction of colonial railroads in Nigeria, we find that the railway has large long-lasting impacts on individual and local development in the North, but virtually no impact in the South neither in the short run nor in the long run. This heterogeneous impact of the railway can be accounted for by the level of pre-railway access to ports of export. Consistent with Fogel’s argument, the railway did not transform areas that had viable transportation alternatives for exporting purposes. Using information on changes in shipping costs and quantities, we highlight the importance of opportunity costs to the adoption and impact of new transportation investments.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/40370
CollectionÉconomie - Publications // Economics - Working Papers
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