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Agricultural Productivity, Comparative Advantage and Economic Growth

  • Kiminori Matsuyama

The role of agricultural productivity in economic development is addressed in a two-sector model of endogenous growth in which a) preferences are non-homothetic and the income elasticity of demand for the agricultural good is less than unitary, and b) the engine of growth is learning-by-doing in the manufacturing sector. For the closed economy case, the model predicts a positive link between agricultural productivity and economic growth and thus provides a formalization of the conventional wisdom, which asserts that agricultural revolution is a precondition for industrial revolution. For the open economy case, however, the model predicts a negative link; that is, an economy with a relatively unproductive agricultural sector experiences faster and accelerating growth. The result suggests that the openness of an economy should be an important factor when planning development strategy and predicting growth performance.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3606.

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Date of creation: Jan 1991
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic Theory, December,1992.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3606
Note: EFG
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  1. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 3099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1991. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 617-50, May.
  3. Stokey, Nancy L, 1988. "Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-17, August.
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  8. Krugman, Paul, 1987. "The narrow moving band, the Dutch disease, and the competitive consequences of Mrs. Thatcher : Notes on trade in the presence of dynamic scale economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 41-55, October.
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  10. Field, Alexander James, 1978. "Sectoral shift in antebellum Massachusetts: A reconsideration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 146-171, April.
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