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The Food Problem and the Evolution of International Income Levels

Author

Listed:
  • Douglas Gollin

    () (Yale University and Williams College)

  • Stephen L. Parente

    () (University of Illinois)

  • Richard Rogerson

    () (Arizona State University)

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of agricultural development on a country's overall development and growth experience. In most poor countries, large fractions of land, labor, and other productive resources are devoted to producing food for subsistence needs. This "food problem" can delay a country's industrial development for a long period of time, causing its per capita income to fall far behind the world leader. Once industrialization begins, this trend is reversed. The extent to which a country catches up to the leader depends primarily on factors that affect productivity in non- agricultural activities: agricultural productivity is thus largely irrelevant in the very long run. But in the short run, a country that experiences large improvements in agricultural productivity (due to, say, a Green Revolution) will experience a rapid increase in its income relative to the leaders.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Gollin & Stephen L. Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2004. "The Food Problem and the Evolution of International Income Levels," Working Papers 899, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:899
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agriculture; Economic Growth; Subsistence; Food Problem; Agricultural Technology; Long-run Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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