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Regions, frictions, and migrations in a model of structural transformation

  • Tombe, Trevor

Why do some regions grow faster than others? More precisely, why do rates of convergence differ? Recent research points to labour market frictions as a possible answer. This paper expands along this line by investigating how these labour market frictions interact with regional migration. Motivating this are two important observations: (1) farm-to-nonfarm labour reallocation costs have fallen, disproportionately benefiting poorer agricultural regions; and (2) migration flows vary dramatically by region, lowering (raising) marginal productivities in destination (source) regions. Using a general equilibrium model of structural transformation calibrated with US regional data over time, I find regional migration barriers magnify the income convergence effect of labour market improvements. For instance, recent research points to improved nonagricultural skills acquisition as a driver of Southern US convergence with the North. I find the strong link between labour markets and Southern convergence follows from the South’s historically extensive migration restrictions. Finally, the model captures the low convergence rates experienced by other regions, such as the US Midwest.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 26641.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26641
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  1. Reto Foellmi & Josef Zweilmueller, 2006. "Structural Change and the Kaldor Facts of Economic Growth," 2006 Meeting Papers 342, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," NBER Working Papers 9886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2006. "Capital Deepening and Non-Balanced Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 12475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Caselli, Francesco, 2004. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," CEPR Discussion Papers 4703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 129-173.
  10. Jeremy Greenwood & Gokce Uysal, 2003. "New Goods and the Transition to a New Economy," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 5, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  11. 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.
  12. Schwartz, Aba, 1973. "Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1153-69, Sept.-Oct.
  13. Kongsamut, P. & Rebelo, S. & Xie, D., 1997. "Beyong Balanced Growth," RCER Working Papers 438, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  14. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
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