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A Three-Sector Model of Structural Transformation and Economic Development

  • El-hadj M. Bah

Growth accounting exercises point to aggregate TFP differences as the dominant source of the large cross-country income differences. In this paper, I ask which sectors account for the aggregate TFP gap between rich and poor countries. Data limitations for developing countries have led researchers to use indirect methods for estimating sectoral TFPs. This paper proposes a new approach for estimating sectoral TFP using panel data on sectoral employment shares and GDP per capita. The approach builds a model of structural transformation and uses it to infer sectoral TFP time series consistent with the reallocation of labor between sectors and GDP per capita growth of a set of developing countries over a 40-year period. I fi nd that relative to the US, developing countries are the least productive in agriculture, followed by services and then manufacturing. While these fi ndings are consistent with empirical studies, they differ from fi ndings in the growth literature.

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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c014_039.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c014_039
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  1. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741 Elsevier.
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  8. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Marla Ripoll, 2005. "Endogenous TFP and Cross-Country Income Differences," Development and Comp Systems 0512018, EconWPA.
  9. Ngai, Liwa Rachel & Pissarides, Christopher, 2004. "Structural Change in a Multi-Sector Model of Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 4763, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Prescott, Edward C, 1998. "Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 525-51, August.
  11. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  13. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2003. "Relative prices and relative prosperity," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  14. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2007. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," Working Papers tecipa-300, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  15. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. 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 431-52, May.
  18. Bah, El-hadj, 2009. "Structural Transformation in Developed and Developing Countries," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 42, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  19. Berthold Herrendorf & Akos Valentinyi, 2006. "Which Sectors Make the Poor Countries so Unproductive?," 2006 Meeting Papers 304, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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