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Agricultural Productivity, Comparative Advantage and Economic Growth

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  • Kiminori Matsuyama

Abstract

The role of agricultural productivity in economic development is addressed in a two-sector model of endogenous growth in which a) preferences are non-homothetic and the income elasticity of demand for the agricultural good is less than unitary, and b) the engine of growth is learning-by-doing in the manufacturing sector. For the closed economy case, the model predicts a positive link between agricultural productivity and economic growth and thus provides a formalization of the conventional wisdom, which asserts that agricultural revolution is a precondition for industrial revolution. For the open economy case, however, the model predicts a negative link; that is, an economy with a relatively unproductive agricultural sector experiences faster and accelerating growth. The result suggests that the openness of an economy should be an important factor when planning development strategy and predicting growth performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3606.

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Date of creation: Jan 1991
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic Theory, December,1992.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3606

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  1. Stokey, Nancy L, 1988. "Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-17, August.
  2. Corden, W M, 1984. "Booming Sector and Dutch Disease Economics: Survey and Consolidation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 359-80, November.
  3. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1988. "Migration and urbanization," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 425-465 Elsevier.
  4. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1991. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 617-50, May.
  5. Wright, Gavin, 1979. "Cheap Labor and Southern Textiles before 1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(03), pages 655-680, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ledders In The Theory Of Growth," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  9. Michele Boldrin & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1988. "Learning-By-Doing, International Trade and Growth: A Note," UCLA Economics Working Papers 462, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Field, Alexander James, 1978. "Sectoral shift in antebellum Massachusetts: A reconsideration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 146-171, April.
  11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  13. van Wijnbergen, Sweder J G, 1984. "The 'Dutch Disease': A Disease after All?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(373), pages 41-55, March.
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