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Regions, frictions, and migrations in a model of structural transformation

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  • Tombe, Trevor

Abstract

Why do some regions grow faster than others? More precisely, why do rates of convergence differ? Recent research points to labour market frictions as a possible answer. This paper expands along this line by investigating how these labour market frictions interact with regional migration. Motivating this are two important observations: (1) farm-to-nonfarm labour reallocation costs have fallen, disproportionately benefiting poorer agricultural regions; and (2) migration flows vary dramatically by region, lowering (raising) marginal productivities in destination (source) regions. Using a general equilibrium model of structural transformation calibrated with US regional data over time, I find regional migration barriers magnify the income convergence effect of labour market improvements. For instance, recent research points to improved nonagricultural skills acquisition as a driver of Southern US convergence with the North. I find the strong link between labour markets and Southern convergence follows from the South’s historically extensive migration restrictions. Finally, the model captures the low convergence rates experienced by other regions, such as the US Midwest.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 26641.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26641

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Keywords: structural change; regional migration; transportation costs; labour market frictions; regional convergence;

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  1. Reto Foellmi & Josef Zweimüller, . "Structural Change and the Kaldor Facts of Economic Growth," IEW - Working Papers 111, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2009. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," Working Papers tecipa-348, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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  8. Restuccia, Diego & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2008. "Agriculture and aggregate productivity: A quantitative cross-country analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 234-250, March.
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  10. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Schwartz, Aba, 1973. "Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1153-69, Sept.-Oct.
  12. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
  13. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
  14. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
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