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date: 21 April 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents a model to compare and contrast the urban economic experience of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East with insights into American development. It emphasizes the importance of political institutions, particularly more open participatory government and greater urban autonomy, in contributing to the faster economic growth of European cities by the eighteenth century. The same factors also influenced the rise of the Atlantic urban region in the early modern period, laying the foundations for the first Great Divergence between East and West.

Keywords: urban economy, urban systems, American development, participatory government, urban autonomy

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