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Structural change and regional convergence: the case of declining transport costs

  • Tombe, Trevor

Regional income inequality within countries is an important contributor to global income inequality. I investigate its relationship with structural change and growth using the historical experience of the United States since 1880. Specifically, I modify an existing multi-sector general equilibrium growth model and highlight two important forces: (1) structural change, which disproportionately benefit poor agricultural regions; and (2) transport cost reductions, which shrinks regional price and wage differences. Consistent with existing research, structural change accounts for the Southern states’ convergence to the Northeast. In contrast, I find reductions in transport costs offset the nominal income gains from structural change for the Midwestern states. The Midwest case is of greater relevance for developing countries, given their high internal transportation costs. These results suggest growth in developing countries may not significantly reduce global income inequality.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34053.

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Date of creation: 11 Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34053
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  1. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2007. "Structural Change in a Multisector Model of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 429-443, March.
  2. Paci, Raffaele & Pigliaru, Francesco, 1997. "Structural change and convergence: an Italian regional perspective," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 297-318, August.
  3. Foellmi, Reto & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "Structural Change and the Kaldor Facts of Economic Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 472, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Douglas Gollin & Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Agriculture, Roads, and Economic Development in Uganda," NBER Working Papers 15863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Capital Deepening and Nonbalanced Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 467-498, 06.
  9. Kongsamut, Piyabha & Rebelo, Sergio & Xie, Danyang, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 869-82, October.
  10. Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2003. "Spatial Inequality In Education And Health Care In China," Working Papers 127256, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  11. 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.
  12. François Bourguignon & Christian Morrisson, 2001. "Inequality among World Citizens : 1820-1992," DELTA Working Papers 2001-18, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Knick Harley, C., 1980. "Transportation, the world wheat trade, and the Kuznets Cycle, 1850-1913," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 218-250, July.
  14. David E. Sahn & David C. Stifel, 2003. "Urban--Rural Inequality in Living Standards in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(4), pages 564-597, December.
  15. Michael R. Haines, 1989. "A State and Local Consumer Price Index for the United States in 1890," NBER Historical Working Papers 0002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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