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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. Diego Restuccia & Dennis Tao Yang & Xiaodong Zhu, 2007. "Agriculture and Aggregate Productivity: A Quantitative Cross-Country Analysis," Working Papers e07-3, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Caselli, Francesco, 2004. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," CEPR Discussion Papers 4703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
  6. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2003. "Relative Prices and Relative Prosperity," NBER Working Papers 9701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ngai, L. Rachel & Pissarides, Christopher A., 2005. "Structural Change in a Multi-Sector Model of Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 1800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2010. "Endogenous Tfp and Cross-Country Income Differences," Staff General Research Papers 32116, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 160-164, May.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Gollin, Douglas & Parente, Stephen L. & Rogerson, Richard, 2007. "The food problem and the evolution of international income levels," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1230-1255, May.
  15. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 1997. "Beyond Balanced Growth," NBER Working Papers 6159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  18. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 129-173.
  19. Hendricks, Lutz A., 2002. "How Important is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," Staff General Research Papers 11409, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  20. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306.
  22. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
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