Alexandra L. Cermeño

Economic History PhD - Post doctoral Researcher

I currently work as a Post doctoral researcher at the Department of Economic History in Lund University. I am a research associate of Instituto Figuerola, part of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where I defended my PhD thesis in June 2016. My thesis assesses the patterns of concentration of service employment addressing technological change, the role of factor endowments and market size as well as the long term spatial effects of human capital shocks during the 20th century in the United States.

In my current position, I have developed a passion for Early Modern history after working in the long-run patterns of urbanization in Sweden and the emergence of towns. I am currently involved at different projects including the effect of church investments since the 13th century on population, agricultural productivity, and inequality over the long rung, and the role of the railways on diversification of towns and state capacity.

My broader research interests are related to the effects of place-based policies in the evolution of regional inequality over time and space, combining long-term data and modern techniques such as Geographic Information Systems and spatial econometrics.

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Ongoing Research.

All roads lead to market integration.

Lessons from a spatial analysis of the wheat market in 18th century Spain.

This paper uses newly collected data from a large-scale census (Catastro de la Ensenada) to investigate the scale and causes of market integration in eighteenth century Spain. We use wheat prices observed in more than 5,200 municipalities to analyse the local spatial dependence of prices. We detect several regional clusters in the centre and coasts but find that these were not integrated with each other. We then investigate the first nature, second nature, and demand side determinants of these clusters and find that although geographical constrains like terrain roughness play a negatively significant role, the transportation network allowed connected municipalities to alleviate such obstacles. Our results suggest that unfavourable geographical conditions can be overcome by investments in transportation infrastructures. With Carlos Santiago

Working Paper

Railways and Reform

How Trains Strengthened the Nation State

We examine the relationship between the coming of the railways, the expansion of primary education, and the intro- duction of national school curricula. Using fine-grained data on national school inspectors in Sweden in the nineteenth century, we compare education outcomes in localities that school inspectors could travel to easily with more remote localities. Our findings provide support for the argument that the development of the na- tional railway network enabled school inspectors to monitor remote schools more e↵ectively. In localities that were connected to the railway network, a larger share of children attended school and took classes in state-building subjects such as geography and his- tory. By contrast, the interests of local and religious authorities continued to dominate in remote areas. The railway, one of the defining technological innovations of the First Industrial Revolu- tion, thus had a direct e↵ect on state capacity: the state’s ability to enforce public policies. Currently: R&R in British Journal of Political Science With Johannes Lindvall , Kerstin Enflo

Railways & reform Working Paper

Building up faith

The relationship between local wealth and church investments in Medieval Sweden

- with Kerstin Enflo, Department of Economic History, Lund University. With Kerstin Enflo

Learning or competition:

Evidence from Sweden during the second industrial revolution

with C. Jara-Figueroa and C. Hidalgo -MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and K. Enflo, Department of Economic History, Lund University

Trading health for jobs: biological consequences of rural-to-urban migration

with A. Brzezinski, Nuno Palma and Renato Pistola

What hath God wrought?

Telegraph diffusion and regional growth in Spain

with Carlos Santiago - UC3M With Carlos Santiago


  • 10 / 2019

    Research Seminar at Universidad de Barcelona

    "Building up faith: the relationship between church building and pre-industrial population"

  • 10 / 2019

    14th North American Meeting of the Urban Economics Association Federal Reserve of Philadelphia, USA.

    ”Can kings create towns that thrive? The long-run implications of a town foundation policy”

  • 8 / 2019

    European Historical Economics Society Paris, France.

    ”Building up faith: the relation- ship between church building and pre-industrial population”

  • 7 / 2019

    4th Sound for Seniors NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.

    ”Building up faith: the relationship between church building and pre-industrial population”

  • 4 / 2019

    Economic History Society Annual Conference - Queens University, Belfast.

    ’Building up faith: the relationship between church building and pre-industrial population’

  • 9 / 2018

    13th Sound Economic History Workshop in Gothenburg, Sweden

    Railways and Reform: How did the train enhance the Nation State

  • 7 / 2018

    World Economic History Congress - Boston (USA)

    Presenting "Building up faith: The relationship between local wealth and church investments in Medieval Sweden." in “Conversion out of Poverty?” (Scheduled)

  • 10 / 2017

    12th Swedish Economic History Meeting - Stockholm University (Sweden)

    Can Kings Create Towns that Thrive? The long-run implications of new town foundations

  • 9 / 2017

    12th European Historical Economics Society Conference - Tübingen University (Germany)

    Can Kings Create Towns that Thrive? The long-run implications of new town foundations

  • 9 / 2017

    12th Sound Economic History Workshop, Jyväskylä University (Finland)

    Can Kings Create Towns that Thrive? Urbanisation and agricultural surplus in Sweden 1570-1810

  • 3 / 2017

    Economic History Association Annual Meeting - Royal Holloway (UK)

    Knowledge shocks diffusion and the resilience of regional inequality


  • Lund University
  • Department of Economic History Alfa 1 2097
  • Scheelevägen 15b Lund, Sweden