Seminars & Events

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch)

Roman Roads to Prosperity: Persistence and Non-persistence in Public Goods Provision

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch) is a lunchtime workshop open to public, including IDE staffs, visiting research fellows, IDEAS students, outside researchers and graduate students. This workshop provides a platform for presentation of any work in progress where we can discuss in either English or Japanese.

Those who would attend a seminar are asked to announce yourself to receptionists on your arrival at the IDE and to obtain APL Organizers' signature on your admission card after the seminar.


April 25, 2019. (Thursday) 10:30-11:30

Roman Roads to Prosperity: Persistence and Non-persistence in Public Goods Provision
How persistent is the provision of public goods? We explore the link between infrastructure investments made during antiquity and the presence of infrastructure today, as well as the link between early infrastructure and economic activity both in the past and in the present. We examine the entire area under dominion of the Roman Empire at the zenith of its geographical extension (117 CE), and find a remarkable pattern of persistence showing that greater Roman road density goes along with (a) greater modern road density, (b) greater settlement formation in 500 CE, and (c) greater economic activity in 2010. Exploiting a natural experiment, we find that the degree of persistence in road density and the link between early road density and contemporary economic development are weakened to the point of insignificance in areas where the use of wheeled vehicles was abandoned from the first millennium CE until the late modern period. Our results suggest that infrastructure may be one important channel through which persistence in comparative development comes about.
Dr. Pablo Selaya (Associate Professor of Development Economics, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Tomohiro Machikita




Institute of Developing Economies, APL Organizers
E-mail: APLE-mail