IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Which Sectors Make the Poor Countries so Unproductive?

  • Berthold Herrendorf
  • Akos Valentinyi


    (University of Southampton)

Standard growth accounting exercises find large cross--country differences in aggregate TFP. Here we ask whether specific sectors are driving these differences, and, if this is the case, which these problem sectors are. We argue that to answer these questions we need to consider four sectors. In contrast, the literature typically considers only two sectors. Our four sectors produce services (nontradable consumption), consumption goods (tradable consumption), construction (nontradable investment), and machinery and equipment (tradable investment). Interacting the data from the 1996 benchmark study of the Penn World Tables with economic theory, we find that the TFP differences across countries are much larger in the two tradable sectors than in the two nontradable sectors. This is consistent with the Balassa--Samuelson hypothesis. We also find that within the tradable sectors the TFP differences are much larger in machinery and equipment than in consumption goods. We illustrate the usefulness of our findings by accounting for the conflicting results of the existing two--sector analyses and by developing criteria for a successful theory of aggregate TFP

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 304.

in new window

Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:304
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Holger C. Wolf & Alberto Giovannini & Jose De Gregorio, 1994. "International Evidenceon Tradables and Nontradables Inflation," IMF Working Papers 94/33, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Berthold Herrendorf & Arilton Teixeira, 2011. "Barriers To Entry And Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 573-602, 05.
  3. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ananth Seshadri & Rodolfo Manuelli, 2005. "Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations," 2005 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Francesco Caselli, 2004. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 10828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "Monopoly rights: a barrier to riches," Staff Report 236, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Pedro S. Amaral & Erwan Quintin, 2005. "Finance Matters," Macroeconomics 0502007, EconWPA.
  11. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 1997. "Beyond Balanced Growth," NBER Working Papers 6159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Productivity Differences," Seminar Papers 660, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  13. Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "Needed: a theory of total factor productivity," Staff Report 242, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian & Alvaro Riascos & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 2006. "Latin America in the rearview mirror," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sep.
  15. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2001. "Farm Work, Home Work and International Productivity Differences," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-08, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  16. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 1994. "Resistance to technology and trade between areas," Staff Report 184, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2001. "Trade in Capital Goods," NBER Working Papers 8070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  19. Burstein, Ariel Tomas & Neves, Joao C & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2001. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  21. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1988. "National Price Levels and the Prices of Tradables and Nontradables," NBER Working Papers 2536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 1995. "Resistance to new technology and trade between areas," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-17.
  23. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1997. "The poverty of nations: a quantitative exploration," Staff Report 204, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  25. Martin Neil Baily & Robert M. Solow, 2001. "International Productivity Comparisons Built from the Firm Level," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 151-172, Summer.
  26. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  27. Hendricks, Lutz A., 2002. "How Important is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," Staff General Research Papers 11409, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  28. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
  29. Restuccia, Diego & Urrutia, Carlos, 2001. "Relative prices and investment rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 93-121, February.
  30. Andres Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2006. "On the aggregate and distributional implications of productivity differences across countries," Working Paper 06-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  31. 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.
  32. Ana Hidalgo & Andres Erosa, 2004. "On Capital Market Imperfections as an Origin of Low TFP and Economic Rents," 2004 Meeting Papers 16, Society for Economic Dynamics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed006:304. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.