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The Role of Productivity, Transportation Costs, and Barriers to Intersectoral Mobility in Structural Transformation

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  • Cem Karayalcin

    () (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

  • Mihaela Pintea

    () (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

Abstract

The process of economic development is characterized by substantial reallocations of resources across sectors. In this paper, we construct a multi-sector model in which there are barriers to the movement of labor from low-productivity traditional agriculture to modern sectors. With the barrier in place, we show that improvements in productivity in modern sectors (including agriculture) or reductions in transportation costs may lead to a rise in agricultural employment and through terms-of-trade effects may harm subsistence farmers if the traditional subsistence sector is larger than a critical level. This suggests that policy advice based on the earlier literature needs to be revised. Reducing barriers to mobility (through reductions in the cost of skill acquisition and institutional changes) and improving the productivity of subsistence farmers needs to precede policies designed to increase the productivity of modern sectors or decrease transportation costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Cem Karayalcin & Mihaela Pintea, 2014. "The Role of Productivity, Transportation Costs, and Barriers to Intersectoral Mobility in Structural Transformation," Working Papers 1413, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:1413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Parente, Stephen L. & Prescott, Edward C., 2005. "A Unified Theory of the Evolution of International Income Levels," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1371-1416 Elsevier.
    2. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Technical Change and Human-Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 931-953, September.
    3. Alwyn Young, 2013. "Inequality, the Urban-Rural Gap, and Migration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(4), pages 1727-1785.
    4. Douglas Gollin & Stephen L. Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2004. "Farm Work, Home Work, and International Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(4), pages 827-850, October.
    5. Restuccia, Diego & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2008. "Agriculture and aggregate productivity: A quantitative cross-country analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 234-250, March.
    6. Margaret S. McMillan & Dani Rodrik, 2011. "Globalization, Structural Change and Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 17143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Douglas Gollin & David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2014. "The Agricultural Productivity Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 939-993.
    8. Mundlak, Yair & Butzer, Rita & Larson, Donald F., 2012. "Heterogeneous technology and panel data: The case of the agricultural production function," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 139-149.
    9. Larson, Donald & Mundlak, Yair, 1997. "On the Intersectoral Migration of Agricultural Labor," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 295-319, January.
    10. Gollin, Douglas & Rogerson, Richard, 2014. "Productivity, transport costs and subsistence agriculture," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 38-48.
    11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:2:p:939-993. is not listed on IDEAS
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