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Two Perspectives on Preferences and Structural Transformation

  • Berthold Herrendorf
  • Richard Rogerson
  • Ákos Valentinyi

We ask what specification of preferences can account for the changes in the expenditure shares of broad sectors that are associated with the process of structural transformation in the U.S. since 1947. Following the tradition of the expenditure systems literature, we first calibrate utility function parameters using NIPA data on final consumption expenditure. We find that a Stone-Geary specification fits the data well. While useful, this exercise does not tell the researcher what utility function to use in a model that posits sectoral production functions in value added form. We therefore develop a method to calculate the value added components of consumption categories that are consistent with value added production functions, and use these data to calibrate a utility function over sectoral consumption value added. We find that a Leontief specification fits the data well. Interestingly, the two specifications display very different properties: for final consumption expenditure income effects are the dominant force behind changes in expenditure shares whereas for consumption value added relative price effects are dominant.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15416.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Publication status: published as Berthold Herrendorf & Richard Rogerson & ?kos Valentinyi, 2013. "Two Perspectives on Preferences and Structural Transformation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2752-89, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15416
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  1. Foellmi, Reto & Zweimüller, Josef, 2008. "Structural change, Engel's consumption cycles and Kaldor's facts of economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 1317-1328, October.
  2. William Barnett & Apostolos Serletis, 2008. "Consumer preferences and demand systems," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 200801, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2008.
  3. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "Structural change in a multi-sector model of growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4468, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," Center for Development Economics 2002-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  5. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2007. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," Working Papers tecipa-300, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  6. Herrendorf, Berthold & Valentinyi, Akos, 2007. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sector Level - A Primer," CEPR Discussion Papers 6271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Akos Valentinyi & Berthold Herrendorf, 2008. "Measuring Factor Income Shares at the Sector Level," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 820-835, October.
  8. Messina, Julian, 2006. "The role of product market regulations in the process of structural change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1863-1890, October.
  9. Atkeson, Andrew & Ogaki, Masao, 1996. "Wealth-varying intertemporal elasticities of substitution: Evidence from panel and aggregate data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 507-534, December.
  10. Bah, El-hadj M., 2007. "Structural Transformation in Developed and Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 10655, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Sep 2008.
  11. Berthold Herrendorf & James A. Schmitz & Arilton Teixeira, 2009. "Transportation and development: insights from the U.S., 1840-1860," Staff Report 425, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Victor R. Fuchs, 1968. "Some Implications of the Growth of a Service Economy," NBER Chapters, in: The Service Economy, pages 183-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kongsamut, Piyabha & Rebelo, Sérgio & Xie, Danyang, 1997. "Beyond Balanced Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2009. "Can Traditional Theories of Structural Change Fit The Data?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 469-477, 04-05.
  15. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
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