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The Role of Agriculture in Development

  • Douglas Gollin
  • Stephen Parente
  • Richard Rogerson

A longstanding question in economics is why some countries are so much richer than others. Today, for example, income per capita in the world's richest countries is roughly thirty-five times greater than it is in the world's poorest countries. Recent work argues that the proximate cause of the disparity is that today's poor countries began the process of industrialization much later and that this process is slow. In this paper we argue that a model of structural transformation provides a useful theory of both why industrialization occurs at different dates, and why it proceeds slowly. A key implication of this model is that growth in agricultural productivity is central to development, a message that also appears prominently in the traditional development literature.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 92 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 160-164

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:2:p:160-164
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282802320189177
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  1. Stephen L. Parente & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 2000. "Homework in Development Economics: Household Production and the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 680-687, August.
  2. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1996. "The Poverty of Nations: A Quantitative Exploration," NBER Working Papers 5414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1992. "Agricultural productivity, comparative advantage, and economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 317-334, December.
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  6. Marvin Goodfriend & John McDermott, 1994. "Early development," Working Paper 94-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  7. L. Rachel Ngai, 2003. "Barriers and the transition to modern growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3530, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Robert E. Lucas, 2000. "Some Macroeconomics for the 21st Century," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 159-168, Winter.
  9. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  10. Laitner, John, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 545-61, July.
  11. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  12. Echevarria, Cristina, 1997. "Changes in Sectoral Composition Associated with Economic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 431-52, May.
  13. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  14. Peter Timmer, C., 1988. "The agricultural transformation," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 275-331 Elsevier.
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