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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