2010/35: Financial development and city growth: evidence from Northeastern American cities, 1790-1870
We find a positive and strong correlation between financial development and subsequent city growth in the Northeastern United States between 1790 and 1870. The correlation is robust to controls for geographical characteristics of the city, the percentage of population working in different sectors, and its initial population. Our estimates suggest that the presence of a bank at a given location increases its subsequent growth by one to two percentage points per year. Because urban growth was correlated with economic development in the nineteenth-century US, we believe our results provide further support for the finance-growth nexus.