Proposal preview

The transport economy before the coming of the railways

The recent wave of deregulations in transportation has caused a reconsideration of the features of this market. While historians have carried out many studies on globalization and economic integration processes from the industrial revolution to the late 20th century, the functioning of the transport industry remains relatively unexplored before the coming of the railways. Yet, it was once the backbone of markets and mobility. Certainly maritime transport played a central role in the growth of the global economy, but the growth of the overseas and European trades cannot be understood without knowing more about the role of internal transportation in supplying ports and the distribution of imported goods. The transport economy is generally expressed in terms of infrastructures and networks, but rarely studied through the social and economic organization of a market composed of suppliers and users of transport services. The objective of this session is to propose new perspectives for a better understanding of transport markets, which were characterized by a relative segmentation according to the transport mode (sea, road and waterways), the contexts (civil/military transport), the speed of conveyance, the nature of the traffic (freight, passengers and mail) and the scale (urban/interregional/intercontinental). The transport industry is generally considered to include activities related to providing passenger or freight transport, by road and water, and auxiliary activities such as handling and storage. Such understanding of the structures and the changes in transportation markets focuses attention to levels of competition between service providers, the relative productivity of the transport means, the measurement of the transport prices and their impact on the market integration, the role of the regulation, and the activity of the companies. This session will bring together scholars to address these important themes and to define the proper basis of comparison.


  • Anne Conchon, University Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne,,
  • Dan Bogart, Irvine University (USA),,

Session members

  • Peter Rauscher, Vienna University (Austria),
  • Björn Hasselgren, Uppsala University,
  • Warren Whatley , Chicago of Michigan,
  • Xavier Duran, University of los Andes,
  • Anne Conchon, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France),
  • Dan Bogart, Irvine University (USA),

Proposed discussant(s)

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