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Land, Labor and the Wage-Rental Ratio Factor Price Convergence in the Late Ninteenth Century

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  • O'Rourke, K.
  • Taylor, A.M.
  • Williamson, J.G.

Abstract

This paper augments the new historical literature on factor price convergence. The focus is on the late nineteenth century, when economic convergence among the current OECD countries was dramatic; and the focus is on the convergence between Old World and New, by far the biggest participants in the global convergence during the period; and the focus is on land and labor, the two most important factors of production in the nineteenth century. Wage-rental ratios boomed in the Old World and collapsed in the New, moving the resource-rich and labor scarce New World closer to the resource-scarce and labor-abundant Old World. The paper uses both computable general equilibrium models and econometrics to identify the forces causing the convergence. These include: commodity price convergence and the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem of factor price equalization; migration, capital-deepening and frontier disappearance, factors stressed by Malthus, Ricardo, Wicksell and Viner; and factor-saving biases associated with induced-innovational theory, an endogenous response to relative factor scarcities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1629.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 1993
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1629

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Keywords: prices ; labour ; economic theory;

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