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Business Cycle during Structural Change: Arthur Lewis' Theory from a Neoclassical Perspective

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  • Storesletten, Kjetil
  • Zhao, Bo
  • Zilibotti, Fabrizio

Abstract

We document that business cycles change during the process of development. In countries with large declining agricultural sectors, aggregate employment is uncorrelated with GDP. During booms, agricultural employment declines even though agricultural labor productivity increases relative to other sectors. We construct a unified theory of business cycles and structural change consistent with the stylized facts. The theory focuses on the simultaneous decline and modernization of agriculture. As capital accumulates, agriculture becomes increasingly capital intensive as traditional agriculture is crowded out. We estimate the model and show that it accounts well for both structural transformation and business cycle fluctuations in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Storesletten, Kjetil & Zhao, Bo & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2020. "Business Cycle during Structural Change: Arthur Lewis' Theory from a Neoclassical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 14964, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14964
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    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • 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
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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