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The Food Problem and the Evolution of International Income Levels

Douglas Gollin (), Stephen Parente () and Richard Rogerson ()
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Stephen Parente: University of Illinois

Working Papers from Economic Growth Center, Yale University

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of agricultural development on a country's overall development and growth experience. In most poor countries, large fractions of land, labor, and other productive resources are devoted to producing food for subsistence needs. This "food problem" can delay a country's industrial development for a long period of time, causing its per capita income to fall far behind the world leader. Once industrialization begins, this trend is reversed. The extent to which a country catches up to the leader depends primarily on factors that affect productivity in non- agricultural activities: agricultural productivity is thus largely irrelevant in the very long run. But in the short run, a country that experiences large improvements in agricultural productivity (due to, say, a Green Revolution) will experience a rapid increase in its income relative to the leaders.

Keywords: Agriculture; Economic Growth; Subsistence; Food Problem; Agricultural Technology; Long-run Growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E13 O40 O41 Q10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dev and nep-mac
Date: 2004-12
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Journal Article: The food problem and the evolution of international income levels (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: The Food Problem and the Evolution of International Income Levels (2004) Downloads
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