, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 31–61 | Cite as

Market potential and city growth: Spain 1860–1960

  • Rafael González-Val
  • Daniel A. Tirado-Fabregat
  • Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal
Original Paper


In this paper, we employ parametric and nonparametric techniques to analyse the effect of market potential on the structure and growth of Spanish cities during the period 1860–1960. Even though a few attempts have been made to analyse whether market potential might influence urban structures, this period is especially interesting because it is characterised by advances in the economic integration of the national market together with an intense process of industrialisation. By using an elaborated measure of market potential at the city level, our results show a positive influence of this market potential on city growth, although this influence is heterogeneous over time. Only changes in the market potential from 1900 have a significant effect on population growth.


Market potential Urban structure City growth Economic history 

JEL Classification

R0 N9 O18 N64 F14 



This research received financial support from projects ECO2012-39169-C03-02, ECO2013-45969-P and ECO2013-41310-R (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad), 2014SGR00420 (Generalitat de Catalunya), DGA (ADETRE research group) and FEDER. We acknowledge the helpful comments from Jeffrey Lin and Gabriel Ahlfeldt. We are also grateful to the participants at the 7th Meeting of the Urban Economics Association, at the 59th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International (Ottawa, 2012), at the XXXVII Symposium of Economic Analysis (Vigo 2012), at the Sixth Iberian Economic History Conference (Zaragoza 2013), at the Seventh World Congress of Cliometrics (Honolulu 2013) and at the Royal Economic Society Conference (Manchester 2014). We thank F. J. Goerlich and Julio Martinez-Galarraga for the provision of some unpublished data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael González-Val
    • 1
  • Daniel A. Tirado-Fabregat
    • 2
  • Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal
    • 3
  1. 1.Universidad de Zaragoza-Institut d’Economia de BarcelonaZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.Universitat de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Universitat de Barcelona-Institut d’Economia de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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