Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Economic development, Connecticut history, historical geography, economic diversity, spatial analysis

Major Advisor

Robert Cromley

Associate Advisor

Dean Hanink

Associate Advisor

Chuanrong Zhang

Associate Advisor

Christopher Collier

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation tests an important hypothesis about early nineteenth-century economic development: that higher levels of municipal economic diversity at an early stage of development can serve as predictors of long-term success. The study period of 1810 to 1850 includes the beginnings of industrialization and urbanization in southern New England, and is based upon the Connecticut Grand List of taxable property, which was collected at the level of the municipality (the basic unit of government in the state). Analyses of these data sought to identify patterns of concentration using the location quotient and focal location quotient, Getis-Ord Gi* statistic (a measure of local clustering), and Local Moran’s I (a measure of autocorrelation). Descriptive statistics found that the population and economic data became increasingly skewed over time, with a small number of high-value municipalities and many low-value municipalities. The diversity index showed a modest reduction in skewness toward more significant diversity values over time. Overall, the statistical analysis found that excluding municipalities with significant urban populations, levels of diversity in the early stages of development are not sufficient to predict long-term municipal outcomes. A better predictor is proximity to New York City (that is, being located in southwestern Connecticut). The continuing dominance of the primary sector generally overwhelms the secondary and tertiary sector activity in this time period, but also reveals the key underlying patterns.