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The American Frontier: Technology versus Immigration

What drove western population growth in the U.S. during the 19th century? The facts are: (i) Natural increase was higher in the West than in the East; and (ii) in the early stages of the settlement process, net migration could account for up to 80% of population growth in some regions. A general equilibrium model is proposed, with three ingredients: endogenous fertility, investment in land, and migration. The relative abundance of land in the West promotes higher fertility. The model is simulated. It accounts well for the time-series decomposition of population growth between migration and fertility.

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Paper provided by Economie d'Avant Garde in its series Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports with number 7.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:7
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.jeremygreenwood.net/EAG.htm

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  1. Primack, Martin L., 1969. "Farm Fencing in the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(02), pages 287-291, June.
  2. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-87, December.
  3. Margo, Robert A., 2000. "Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226505077, September.
  4. Margo, Robert A., 1999. "Regional Wage Gaps and the Settlement of the Midwest," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 128-143, April.
  5. Robert E. Gallman, 1986. "The United States Capital Stock in the Nineteenth Century," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 165-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "The US Demographic Transition," RCER Working Papers 487, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2002. "The baby boom and baby bust: some macroeconomics for population economics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  9. Easterlin, Richard A., 1976. "Population Change and Farm Settlement in the Northern United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(01), pages 45-75, March.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521553087 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521553070 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2008. "The U.S. Westward Expansion," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 81-110, 02.
  13. Robert E. Gallman, 1992. "American Economic Growth before the Civil War: The Testimony of the Capital Stock Estimates," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 79-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Coelho, Philip R. P. & Shepherd, James F., 1976. "Regional differences in real wages: The United States, 1851-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 203-230, April.
  15. Primack, Martin L., 1962. "Land Clearing Under Nineteenth-Century Techniques: Some Preliminary Calculations," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(04), pages 484-497, December.
  16. Michael R. Haines, 1994. "The Population of the United States, 1790-1920," NBER Historical Working Papers 0056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 183-207, March.
  18. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, June.
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