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Functional Distribution, Land Ownership and Industrial Takeoff: The Role of Effective Demand

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  • E. Bilancini
  • Simone D’Alessandro

Abstract

This paper analyses how the distribution of land property rights affects industrial takeoff and aggregate income through the demand side. We study a stylized economy composed of two sectors, agriculture and manufacturing. The former produces a single subsistence good while the latter is constituted of a continuum of markets producing distinct commodities. Following Murphy et al. [20] we model industrialization as the introduction of an increasing returns technology in place of a constant returns one. However, we depart from their framework by assuming income to be distributed according to functional groups membership (landowners, capitalists, workers). We carry out an equilibrium analysis for different levels of land ownership concentration proving that, under the specified conditions, there is a non-monotonic relation between the distribution of land property rights and both industrialization and income. We clarify that non-monotonicity arises because of the way land ownership concentration affects the level and the distribution of profits among capitalists which, in turn, shape their demand. Our results suggest that i) both a too concentrated and a too diffused distribution of land property rights can be detrimental to industrialization, ii) land ownership affects the economic performance of an industrializing country by determining the demand of manufactures of both landowners and capitalists, iii) in terms of optimal land distribution there may be a tradeoff between income and industrialization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c011_051.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_051

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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2004. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2003-04, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 23, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Zweimuller, Josef, 2000. " Schumpeterian Entrepreneurs Meet Engel's Law: The Impact of Inequality on Innovation-Driven Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 185-206, June.
  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  5. Jeon, Yoong-Deok & Kim, Young-Yong, 2000. "Land Reform, Income Redistribution, and Agricultural Production in Korea," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 253-68, January.
  6. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1993. "A theory of real wage growth in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 243-269, December.
  7. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mani, Anandi, 2001. " Income Distribution and the Demand Constraint," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 107-33, June.
  9. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1988. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 2709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. G. Bellettini & G. Ottaviano, 1999. "Special Interests and Technological change," Working Papers 340, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  11. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  12. Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  13. Baland, Jean-Marie & Ray, Debraj, 1991. "Why does asset inequality affect unemployment? A study of the demand composition problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 69-92, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Álvarez, Jorge & Bilancini, Ennio & D'Alessandro, Simone & Porcile, Gabriel, 2011. "Agricultural institutions, industrialization and growth: The case of New Zealand and Uruguay in 1870-1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 151-168, April.

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