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Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation

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  • Berthold Herrendorf
  • Christopher Herrington
  • Ákos Valentinyi

Abstract

We assess how the properties of technology affect structural transformation, i.e., the reallocation of production factors across the broad sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, and services. To this end, we estimate sectoral constant elasticity of substitution (CES) and Cobb-Douglas production functions on postwar US data. We find that differences in technical progress across the three sectors are the dominant force behind structural transformation whereas other differences across sectoral technology are of second order importance. Our findings imply that Cobb-Douglas sectoral production functions that differ only in technical progress capture the main technological forces behind the postwar US structural transformation. (JEL E16, E25, O33, O47)

Suggested Citation

  • Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:7:y:2015:i:4:p:104-33
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20130041
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yoosoon Chang & Joon Y. Park & Peter C. B. Phillips, 2001. "Nonlinear econometric models with cointegrated and deterministically trending regressors," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36.
    2. Berthold Herrendorf & Christopher Herrington & Ákos Valentinyi, 2015. "Sectoral Technology and Structural Transformation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 104-133, October.
    3. Berthold Herrendorf & Ákos Valentinyi, 2012. "Which Sectors Make Poor Countries So Unproductive?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 323-341, April.
    4. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "Structural Change in a Multisector Model of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 429-443, March.
    5. Ezra Oberfield & Devesh Raval, 2012. "Micro data and macro technology," Working Paper Series WP-2012-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Capital Deepening and Nonbalanced Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 467-498, June.
    8. Berthold Herrendorf & Todd Schoellman, 2015. "Why is Measured Productivity so Low in Agriculture?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 1003-1022, October.
    9. Miguel A. León-Ledesma & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2010. "Identifying the Elasticity of Substitution with Biased Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1330-1357, September.
    10. 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 431-452, May.
    11. Berthold Herrendorf & Todd Schoellman, 2017. "Wages, Human Capital, and Structural Transformation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6426, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2007. "Factor Substitution and Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress in the United States: A Normalized Supply-Side System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 183-192, February.
    13. Akos Valentinyi & Berthold Herrendorf, 2008. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sector Level," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 820-835, October.
    14. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E16 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Social Accounting Matrix
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • 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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