Published: March 23, 2020

Social reactors project researchers Jack Hanson (Reading University, UK) and Rudy Cesaretti (Arizona State University, USA) have recently completed publications that extend settlement scaling theory in new (and different) directions. Hanson's paper focuses on the widths of city gates in Roman cities of the Imperial period, finding evidence for increasing returns to city population for flows of people, goods and information in and out of the city. Cesaretti's paper uses documentary evidence from the mid-16th century beard tax in England to demonstrate increasing returns to scale in incomes with city size in pre-industrial England. Both results are well-attested in the context of contemporary cities, but these analyses provide additional evidence that ancient preindustrial cities worked in fundamentally similar ways. Both papers are available through the publications page.