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Structural Change Out of Agriculture: Labor Push versus Labor Pull

Author

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  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado
  • Markus Poschke

Abstract

A declining agricultural employment share is a key feature of economic development. Its main drivers are: improvements in agricultural technology combined with Engel's law release resources from agriculture ("labor push"), and improvements in industrial technology attract labor out of agriculture ("labor pull"). We present a model with both channels and evaluate the importance using data on 12 industrialized countries since the nineteenth century. Results suggest that the "pull" channel dominated until 1920 and the "push" channel dominated after 1960. The "pull" channel mattered more in countries in early stages of the structural transformation. This contrasts with modeling choices in recent literature. (JEL E23, N10, N53, O10, O47).

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Markus Poschke, 2011. "Structural Change Out of Agriculture: Labor Push versus Labor Pull," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 127-158, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:127-58
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.3.127
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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