IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9445.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Productivity of U.S. States Since 1880

Author

Listed:
  • Kris James Mitchener
  • Ian W. McLean

Abstract

This study uses state-level variation in labor productivity levels at twenty-year intervals between 1880 and 1980 to examine the relative importance of institutional and geographical influences in explaining observed and persistent differences in standards of living over time and across regions. Focusing on fundamental rather than proximate influences, we find that both institutional characteristics and some physical geography characteristics account for a high proportion of the differences in state productivity levels: states with navigable waterways, a large minerals endowment, and no slaves in 1860, on average, had higher labor productivity levels throughout the sample period. However, we find little support for two other influences that have previously received attention climate and latitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Kris James Mitchener & Ian W. McLean, 2003. "The Productivity of U.S. States Since 1880," NBER Working Papers 9445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9445
    Note: DAE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9445.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ronald Findlay, 1995. "Factor Proportions, Trade, and Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061759, December.
    2. Musoke, Moses S. & Olmstead, Alan L., 1982. "The Rise of the Cotton Industry in California: A Comparative Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 385-412, June.
    3. Landes, David S, 1990. "Why Are We So Rich and They So Poor?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 1-13, May.
    4. Jan Willem Gunning & Paul Collier, 1999. "Explaining African Economic Performance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 64-111, March.
    5. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Andrew Mellinger & Jeffrey D. Sachs & John Luke Gallup, 1999. "Climate, Water Navigability, and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 24A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
    8. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1992. "Agricultural productivity, comparative advantage, and economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 317-334, December.
    9. Temin, Peter, 1976. "The Post-Bellum Recovery of the South and the Cost of the Civil War," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(4), pages 898-907, December.
    10. Wright, Gavin, 1987. "The Economic Revolution in the American South," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 161-178, Summer.
    11. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    12. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    13. Masters, William A & McMillan, Margaret S, 2001. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 167-186, September.
    14. Irwin James R., 1994. "Explaining the Decline in Southern per Capita Output after Emancipation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 336-356, July.
    15. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Productivity and Convergence across U.S. States and Industries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 113-135.
    16. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    17. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    18. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
    19. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 01A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    20. Andrew D. Mellinger & Jeffrey D. Sachs & John L. Gallup, 1999. "Climate, Water Navigability, and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 24, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    21. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    22. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
    23. Coelho, Philip R. P. & McGuire, Robert A., 1997. "African and European Bound Labor in the British New World: The Biological Consequences of Economic Choices," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 83-115, March.
    24. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    25. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    26. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    27. Wright, Gavin, 1974. "Cotton Competition and the Post-Bellum Recovery of the American South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 610-635, September.
    28. Nelson, Richard R & Wright, Gavin, 1992. "The Rise and Fall of American Technological Leadership: The Postwar Era in Historical Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1931-1964, December.
    29. Warren C. Whatley, 1985. "A History of Mechanization in the Cotton South: The Institutional Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1191-1215.
    30. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    31. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    32. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-92-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    33. Beeson, Patricia E. & DeJong, David N. & Troesken, Werner, 2001. "Population growth in U.S. counties, 1840-1990," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 669-699, November.
    34. Redding, Stephen, 1999. "Dynamic Comparative Advantage and the Welfare Effects of Trade," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 15-39, January.
    35. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
    36. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, "undated". "The Productivity of Nations," Working Papers 96012, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    37. Gallup, John L. & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Mellinger, Andrew, "undated". "Geography and Economic Development," Instructional Stata datasets for econometrics geodata, Boston College Department of Economics.
    38. BARRY EICHENGREEN & IAN W. McLEAN, 1994. "The supply of gold under the pre-1914 gold standard," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(2), pages 288-309, May.
    39. Jonathan Temple & Paul A. Johnson, 1998. "Social Capability and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 965-990.
    40. Gallup, John & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Papers 294434, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.
    41. Ram, Rati, 1999. "Tropics and Income: A Longitudinal Study of the U.S. States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(3), pages 373-378, September.
    42. Wright, Gavin, 1990. "The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879-1940," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 651-668, September.
    43. Mitchener, Kris James & McLean, Ian W., 1999. "U.S.Regional Growth And Convergence, 1880–1980," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 1016-1042, December.
    44. Masters, William A & McMillan, Margaret S, 2001. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 167-86, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. W. A. Naudé, 2004. "The effects of policy, institutions and geography on economic growth in Africa: an econometric study based on cross-section and panel data," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(6), pages 821-849.
    2. Derek Headey, 2008. "The Principal Components of Growth in the Less Developed Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 568-598, November.
    3. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    4. Arvanitidis, Paschalis & Petrakos, George & Pavleas, Sotiris, 2007. "Determinants of economic growth: the experts’ view," Papers DYNREG20, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    5. Artelaris, Panagiotis & Arvanitidis, Paschalis & Petrakos, George, 2007. "Explaining Knowledge-Based Economic Dynamism in a Global Scale," Papers DYNREG05, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    6. Oleg Badunenko & Daniel Henderson & Romain Houssa, 2014. "Significant drivers of growth in Africa," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 339-354, December.
    7. Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés & Ketterer, Tobias, 2016. "Institutions vs. ‘First-Nature’ Geography – What Drives Economic Growth in Europe’s Regions?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. David Castells-Quintana & Maria del Pilar Lopez-Uribe & Tom McDermott, 2015. "Climate change and the geographical and institutional drivers of economic development," GRI Working Papers 198, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    9. P. Dorian Owen, 2017. "Evaluating Ingenious Instruments for Fundamental Determinants of Long-Run Economic Growth and Development," Econometrics, MDPI, vol. 5(3), pages 1-33, September.
    10. Lopez-Uribe, Maria del Pilar & Castells-Quintana, David & McDermott, Thomas K. J., 2017. "Geography, institutions and development: a review ofthe long-run impacts of climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65147, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Mitton, Todd, 2016. "The wealth of subnations: Geography, institutions, and within-country development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 88-111.
    12. Barbier,Edward B., 2007. "Natural Resources and Economic Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521706513.
    13. Tobias D. Ketterer & Andrés Rodríguez‐Pose, 2018. "Institutions vs. ‘first‐nature’ geography: What drives economic growth in Europe's regions?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(S1), pages 25-62, March.
    14. Maria ABREU & Henri L.F. DE GROOT & Raymond J.G.M. FLORAX, 2005. "Space And Growth: A Survey Of Empirical Evidence And Methods," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 21, pages 13-44.
    15. Olivier Parent & Abdallah Zouache, 2009. "Geographical Features vs. Institutional Factors: New Perspectives on The Growth of Africa and Middle-East," Working Papers 490, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2009.
    16. Mauricio Cárdenas, 2007. "Economic Growth in Colombia : a reversal of "fortune"?," Revista ESPE - Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, vol. 25(53), pages 220-259, January.
    17. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    18. Stephen Knowles & P. Dorian Owen, 2010. "Which Institutions are Good for Your Health? The Deep Determinants of Comparative Cross-country Health Status," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(4), pages 701-723.
    19. Jan Fagerberg & Martin Srholec, 2005. "Catching up: What are the Critical Factors for success?," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20050401, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    20. Ian W. McLean & Alan M. Taylor, 2001. "Australian Growth: A California Perspective," NBER Working Papers 8408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9445. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.