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Engel versus Baumol: Accounting for structural change using two centuries of U.S. data

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  • Dennis, Benjamin N.
  • Iscan, Talan B.

Abstract

In the last two centuries, the reallocation of labor out of agriculture has been a dominant feature of structural change and economic growth in the United States. This paper uses an accounting framework founded in economic theory to decompose this reallocation into three components: a demand-side effect due to the low income elasticity of demand for agricultural goods (Engel effect), and two supply-side effects, one due to differential sectoral productivity growth rates (Baumol effect), and the other to differential capital deepening. The results show that the Engel effect accounts for almost all labor reallocation until the 1950s, after which the Baumol effect becomes a key determinant. Our framework provides a unified account of long-run structural change, and demonstrates that historical interpretations and theoretical models that emphasize only one dimension of this process cannot properly account for the dramatic history of labor reallocation in the United States.

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  • Dennis, Benjamin N. & Iscan, Talan B., 2009. "Engel versus Baumol: Accounting for structural change using two centuries of U.S. data," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 186-202, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:2:p:186-202
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    Cited by:

    1. Cai, Wenbiao, 2015. "Structural change accounting with labor market distortions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 54-64.
    2. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Raurich, Xavier, 2015. "Demand-based structural change and balanced economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 359-374.
    3. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941 Elsevier.
    4. repec:nbr:nberch:14029 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Murat Ungor, 2017. "Productivity Growth and Labor Reallocation: Latin America versus East Asia," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 25-42, March.
    6. Murat Üngör, 2016. "Did the rising importance of services decelerate overall productivity improvement of Turkey during 2002–2007?," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 238-261, July.
    7. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Xavier Raurich, 2015. "Labor mobility, structural change and economic growth," UB Economics Working Papers 2015/325, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    8. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Long, Ngo & Poschke, Markus, 2017. "Capital-labor substitution, structural change and growth," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(3), September.
    9. Minghong Tan, 2014. "The Transition of Farmland Production Functions in Metropolitan Areas in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(7), pages 1-14, June.
    10. Üngör, Murat, 2013. "De-agriculturalization as a result of productivity growth in agriculture," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 141-145.
    11. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941 Elsevier.
    12. Bah El-hadj, 2013. "Distortions, structural transformation and the Europe-US income gap," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-34, September.
    13. James Bessen, 2018. "AI and Jobs: The Role of Demand," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cruz Edgar, 2017. "Structural change and non-constant biased technical change," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 1-23, June.
    15. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & María Jesús Freire-Serén & Xavier Raurich, 2017. "Anatomizing the Mechanics of Structural Change," UB Economics Working Papers 2017/360, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    16. Dietrich, Andreas & Krüger, Jens J., 2010. "Numerical explorations of the Ngai-Pissarides model of growth and structural change," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 199, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
    17. Wang, Fei & Dong, Baomin & Yin, Xiaopeng & An, Chi, 2014. "China's structural change: A new SDA model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 256-266.
    18. Pina, Gilson M. G., 2013. "Mudança estrutural e a relação entre os setores em Cabo Verde
      [Structural change and the sectoral linkage in Cape Verde]
      ," MPRA Paper 46015, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Aue, Alexander & Horváth, Lajos & Hušková, Marie, 2012. "Segmenting mean-nonstationary time series via trending regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(2), pages 367-381.
    20. repec:eee:deveco:v:130:y:2018:i:c:p:45-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Talan İşcan, 2015. "Windfall Resource Income, Productivity Growth, and Manufacturing Employment," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 279-311, April.

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