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      Complex networks to understand the past: the case of roads in Bourbon Spain


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          The work aims to study, using GIS techniques and network analysis, the development of the road network in Spain during the period between the War of Succession and the introduction of the railway (1700–1850). Our research is based on a detailed cartographic review of maps made during the War of Succession, largely improving preexisting studies based on books of itineraries from the sixteenth century onwards. We build a new, complete map of the main roads at the beginning of the eighteenth century along with the matrix of transport costs for all the important towns describing the communications network. Our study of this complex network, supplemented by a counterfactual analysis carried out using a simulation model based on agents using different centralized decision-making processes, allows us to establish three main results. First, existing trade flows at the beginning of the eighteenth century had a radial structure, so the Bourbon infrastructure plan only consolidated a preexisting situation. Second, the development of the network did not suppose important alterations in the comparative centrality of the regions. Finally, the design of the paved road network was adequate for the economic needs of the country. These findings are in stark contrast with claims that the radial structure of the Bourbon roads was designed ex-novo with political or ideological objectives rather than economic ones. Our methodology paves the way to further studies of path-dependent, long-term processes of network design as the key to understanding the true origin of many currently existing situations.

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            Path dependence and regional economic evolution

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              Economic networks: the new challenges.

              The current economic crisis illustrates a critical need for new and fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of economic networks. Economic systems are increasingly built on interdependencies, implemented through trans-national credit and investment networks, trade relations, or supply chains that have proven difficult to predict and control. We need, therefore, an approach that stresses the systemic complexity of economic networks and that can be used to revise and extend established paradigms in economic theory. This will facilitate the design of policies that reduce conflicts between individual interests and global efficiency, as well as reduce the risk of global failure by making economic networks more robust.

                Author and article information

                Cliometrica (Berl)
                Cliometrica (Berl)
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                6 October 2020
                : 1-58
                [1 ]Facultad de CC. Económicas, Empresariales y Turismo, Plaza de la Victoria, 3, 28802 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
                [2 ]GRID grid.7159.a, ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0239, Grupo de Investigación Sistemas Complejos en Ciencias Sociales (SCCS), Departamento de Economía, , Universidad de Alcalá, ; 28801 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
                [3 ]GRID grid.4795.f, ISNI 0000 0001 2157 7667, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales, and Departamento de Economía Aplicada, Estructura e Historia, , Universidad Complutense de Madrid, ; 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain
                [4 ]GRID grid.7840.b, ISNI 0000 0001 2168 9183, Unidad Mixta Interdisciplinar de Comportamiento y Complejidad Social (UMICCS), UC3M-UV-UZ, and Grupo Interdisciplinar de Sistemas Complejos (GISC), Departamento de Matemáticas, , Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, ; 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain
                [5 ]GRID grid.11205.37, ISNI 0000 0001 2152 8769, Instituto de Biocomputación y Física de Sistemas Complejos (BIFI), , Universidad de Zaragoza, ; 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
                [6 ]GRID grid.7840.b, ISNI 0000 0001 2168 9183, UC3M-Santander Big Data Institute (IBiDat), , Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, ; 28903 Getafe, Madrid, Spain
                Author information
                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                : 19 October 2019
                : 5 September 2020
                Funded by: Ministerio de Economía, Innovación y Competitividad
                Award ID: FIS2015-64349-P VARIANCE (MINECO/FEDER, UE)
                Award ID: CSO2016-74888-C4-4-R CITITALENT (AEI/ FEDER, UE)
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Ministerio de Ciencia Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones (CR)
                Award ID: PGC2018-098186-B-I00, BASIC
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100012818, Comunidad de Madrid;
                Award ID: H2019/HUM-5761
                Award Recipient :
                Original Paper

                road network,spain,gis,agent based simulation,c63,c8,n73,r42
                road network, spain, gis, agent based simulation, c63, c8, n73, r42


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