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Structural Change and Regional Convergence: The Case of Declining Transport Costs

Regional income inequality within countries is an important contributor to global inequality. I investigate its relationship to economic growth using the US experience since 1880. I modify a 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. Structural change contributes to Southern growth but is offset in the Midwest by transport cost reductions. The Midwest case is of greater relevance for developing countries with high transport costs, and suggests growth may not significantly reduce global income inequality.

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Paper provided by Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tt0061.

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Length: 28
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision: 2012
Handle: RePEc:wlu:wpaper:tt0061
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Web page: http://www.wlu.ca/sbe/economics/
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  1. Heshmati, Almas, 2004. "Regional Income Inequality in Selected Large Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 1307, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Spatial inequality in education and health care in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-204.
  5. 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.
  6. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
  7. Foellmi, Reto & Zweimüller, Josef, 2002. "Structural Change and the Kaldor Facts of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3300, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2004. "Urban-Rural Inequality in Living Standards in Africa," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  9. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2004. "Structural change in a multi-sector model of growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3550, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Douglas Gollin & Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Agriculture, Roads, and Economic Development in Uganda," NBER Working Papers 15863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2006. "Capital Deepening and Non-Balanced Economic Growth," 2006 Meeting Papers 207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Kongsamut, P. & Rebelo, S. & Xie, D., 1997. "Beyong Balanced Growth," RCER Working Papers 438, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. 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.
  14. François Bourguignon & Christian Morrisson, 2002. "Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 727-744, September.
  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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