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Early development

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  • Marvin Goodfriend
  • John McDermott

Abstract

Long-term economic development involves four fundamental processes: the exploitation of increasing returns to specialization, the transition from household to market production, knowledge and human capital accumulation, and industrialization. In this paper, we integrate these processes into a coherent framework for thinking about economic history. Pre-industrial development is driven by increasing returns to specialization made possible by a growing population. Increasing specialization eventually activates a learning technology and initiates industrial growth, which carries the economy to a fully market-based balanced growth path. Among other things, we attribute a role to population and market size that is consistent with the evidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 94-02.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:94-02

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Keywords: Economic development;

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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1990. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Locay, Luis, 1990. "Economic Development and the Division of Production between Households and Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 965-82, October.
  7. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185.
  8. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
  10. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-33, March.
  11. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
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