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New media, firms, ideas, and growth: European cities after Gutenberg

Dittmar, Jeremiah (2013) New media, firms, ideas, and growth: European cities after Gutenberg. . National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, USA.

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Abstract

Gutenberg's printing press was the great revolution in Renaissance information technology. This paper presents new evidence on media markets, knowledge transmission, and city growth across Europe 1450-1600. The paper construct- s comprehensive firm-level panel data on the number and subjects of book titles printed each year by the 7,000+ printing firms operating in over 300 European cities 1450-1600. Information from historical books is used to identify the dates at which printers died prematurely and management control of their firms passed to widows or heirs. Firms where managers died prematurely experienced large nega- tive shocks to output. However, at the city-level manager deaths were associated with significant increases in (i) entrance and (ii) production by incumbent firms with product line specializations similar to that of the firm losing its manager. On net, manager deaths increased competition and city-level output. The variation in city-level supply induced by heterogeneous manager deaths is used to identify the impact of print media on city-level population growth. Local access to printed merchants' manuals used in business education was particularly associated with growth. New micro data on book prices document the inter-city trade costs that generated local spillovers.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://conference.nber.org/
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N13 - Europe: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N33 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N9 - Regional and Urban History > N93 - Europe: Pre-1913
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O18 - Regional, Urban, and Rural Analyses
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2013 13:00
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2019 00:03
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/53569

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