The Romans built a large number of roads across much of Europe. Their primary function was to aid military movement and communication. But they became useful routes for trade and were, therefore, often linked to increased local prosperity.

A recent article in The Times claims that this link has persisted two millennia after the Roman Empire mostly faded away:

By examining the light emitted from towns and conurbations that lie along the routes of Roman roads built almost two millennia ago, researchers have concluded that they are still contributing to economic prosperity.

Are the paths of Roman roads still linked to higher prosperity?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Sklivvz
    May 5 '18 at 16:31
  • Or maybe they built it in strategic/promissing places
    – jean
    May 16 '18 at 11:03

Partially. The locations of Roman roads are still linked to higher prosperity today within Europe, but not the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA).

This would be expected, if the usage of these roads contributed to today's prosperity. While MENA also had Roman roads, wheel-based transport was abandoned in the early middle ages in MENA - likely because camel caravans were more cost-effective.

Much of the work, and its background, and controls (for geography etc.), is nicely described in the following blogpost of the original scientists: https://voxeu.org/article/roman-roads-and-persistence-development

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