Roads and Urban Growth

April 11 2019

Roads are essential to facilitate interactions in cities. A sub-optimal road layout in cities and towns may inhibit interactions and constrain urban population growth. Using data from over 1800 cities and towns from Sub-Saharan Africa, and an instrument based on the history of foundation ages of cities in Africa, we study the relationship between the road layout of a city and its population growth. We show that cities characterised by low road density in the city centre experience less population growth in recent decades.

Download - Working Paper


Paul Brandily is a PhD candidate at the Paris School of Economics. He holds Masters from IEP Lille, PSE and the “agrégation” in economics and social sciences. Paul was a Research Assistant for the “Urbanisation in Developing Countries” programme in Oxford. Prior to that, he had worked two years with the World Bank (DIME) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kivu regions).

Dr. Ferdinand Rauch is Associate Professor of Economics and Tutorial Fellow at Brasenose College, both at the University of Oxford.  His research interests are in international trade and urban economics.