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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. 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.
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    5. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
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    7. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1991. "Agricultural Productivity, Comparative Advantage and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-38, December.
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    15. 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.
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    17. Laitner, John, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 545-61, July.
    18. Robert E. Lucas, 2000. "Some Macroeconomics for the 21st Century," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 159-168, Winter.
    19. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
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