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New Goods and the Transition to a New Economy

The U.S. went through a remarkable structural transformation between 1800 and 2000. In 1800 the majority of people worked in agriculture. Barely anyone did by 2000. What caused the rapid demise of agriculture in the economy? The analysis here concentrates on the development of new consumer goods associated with technological progress. The introduction of new goods into the framework eliminates the need to rely on satiation points, subsistence levels of consumption, and the like. The analysis suggests that between 1800 and 2000 economic welfare grew by at least 1.5 percent a year, and maybe as much 10 percent annually, the exact number depending upon the metric preferred.

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Paper provided by Economie d'Avant Garde in its series Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports with number 5.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:5
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  1. Kongsamut, Piyabha & Rebelo, Sérgio & Xie, Danyang, 1997. "Beyond Balanced Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Stokey, Nancy L, 1988. "Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-17, August.
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  7. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," Center for Development Economics 2002-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
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  9. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
  10. 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.
  11. W. Michael Cox & Richard Alm, 1998. "The right stuff: America's move to mass customization," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, pages 3-26.
  12. Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 2000. "Product vs. process innovations and economic fluctuations," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 137-163, June.
  13. Jovanovic, B. & MacDonald, G., 1993. "The Life Cycle of a Competitive Industry," Working Papers 93-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  14. Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Labor Force in the Nineteenth Century," NBER Historical Working Papers 0040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Mark Bils, 2004. "Measuring the Growth from Better and Better Goods," NBER Working Papers 10606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Thomas Weiss, 1989. "Economic Growth Before 1860: Revised Conjectures," NBER Historical Working Papers 0007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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