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Can Traditional Theories of Structural Change Fit The Data?

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  • Francisco J. Buera
  • Joseph P. Kaboski

Abstract

Two traditional explanations for structural changes are sector-biased technological progress and non-homothetic preferences. This paper integrates both into an otherwise standard growth model and quantitatively evaluates them vis-a-vis time series. The exercise identifies a set of puzzles for standard theories: (i) the model cannot account for the steep decline in manufacturing and rise in services in the later data; (ii) the standard model requires implausibly low elasticity of substitution across goods to match the consumption and output data; and (iii) the behavior of consumption and output shares differs significantly from that of employment shares. We argue that models that incorporate home production, sector-specific factor distortions, and differences across sectors in the accumulation of human capital are promising avenues to amend the standard models. (JEL: O11, O14, O41) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2009. "Can Traditional Theories of Structural Change Fit The Data?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 469-477, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:469-477
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    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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