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The American Frontier: Technology versus Immigration

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Abstract

What drove western population growth in the U.S. during the 19th century? The facts are: (i) Natural increase was higher in the West than in the East; and (ii) in the early stages of the settlement process, net migration could account for up to 80% of population growth in some regions. A general equilibrium model is proposed, with three ingredients: endogenous fertility, investment in land, and migration. The relative abundance of land in the West promotes higher fertility. The model is simulated. It accounts well for the time-series decomposition of population growth between migration and fertility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economie d'Avant Garde in its series Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports with number 7.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:7

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Web page: http://www.jeremygreenwood.net/EAG.htm

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Keywords: Population growth; migration; fertility; westward expansion;

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References

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  1. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, December.
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  4. Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2003. "The U.S. Westward Expansion," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 4, Economie d'Avant Garde, revised Apr 2004.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A., 1976. "Population Change and Farm Settlement in the Northern United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(01), pages 45-75, March.
  6. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2002. "The baby boom and baby bust: some macroeconomics for population economics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  7. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "The U.S. Demographic Transition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 153-159, May.
  8. Margo, Robert A., 1999. "Regional Wage Gaps and the Settlement of the Midwest," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 128-143, April.
  9. Robert E. Gallman, 1992. "American Economic Growth before the Civil War: The Testimony of the Capital Stock Estimates," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 79-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  12. Coelho, Philip R. P. & Shepherd, James F., 1976. "Regional differences in real wages: The United States, 1851-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 203-230, April.
  13. Primack, Martin L., 1962. "Land Clearing Under Nineteenth-Century Techniques: Some Preliminary Calculations," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(04), pages 484-497, December.
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  16. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 183-207, March.
  17. Michael R. Haines, 1994. "The Population of the United States, 1790-1920," NBER Historical Working Papers 0056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Alex Mourmouras & Peter Rangazad, 2007. "Reconciling Kuznets and Habbakuk in a Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers wp200704, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Department of Economics.

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