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The Food Problem and the Evolution of International Income Levels

  • Douglas Gollin

    ()

    (Yale University and Williams College)

  • Stephen L. Parente

    ()

    (University of Illinois)

  • Richard Rogerson

    ()

    (Arizona State University)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp899.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 899.

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    Length: 44 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:899
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    1. Martin, Will & Mitra, Devashish, 2001. "Productivity Growth and Convergence in Agriculture versus Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 403-22, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1990. "Agricultural Productivity, Comparative Advantage, and Economic Growth," Discussion Papers 934, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. 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.
    5. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1998. "Malthus to Solow," NBER Working Papers 6858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Sergio Rebelo & Piyabha Kongsamut & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," IMF Working Papers 01/85, International Monetary Fund.
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    9. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. Syrquin, Moshe, 1988. "Patterns of structural change," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 203-273 Elsevier.
    15. Gerhard Glomm, 1992. "A Model of Growth and Migration," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(4), pages 901-22, November.
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    17. Stephen L. Parente & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 2000. "Homework in Development Economics: Household Production and the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 680-687, August.
    18. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, June.
    19. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1997. "The poverty of nations: a quantitative exploration," Staff Report 204, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    20. Peter Timmer, C., 1988. "The agricultural transformation," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 275-331 Elsevier.
    21. Laitner, John, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 545-61, July.
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