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Transportation and development: insights from the U.S., 1840-1860
We study the effects of large transportation costs on economic development. We argue that the Midwest and the Northeast of the U.S. is a natural case because starting from 1840 decent data is available showing that the two regions shared key characteristics with today?s developing countries and that transportation costs were large and then came way down. To disentangle the effects of the large reduction in transportation costs from those of other changes that happened during 1840?1860, we build a model that speaks to the distribution of people across regions and across the sectors of production. We find that the large reduction in transportation costs was a quantitatively important force behind the settlement of the Midwest and the regional specialization that concentrated agriculture in the Midwest and industry in the Northeast. Moreover, we find that it led to the convergence of the regional per capita incomes measured in current regional prices and that it increased real GDP per capita. However, the increase in real GDP per capita is considerably smaller than that resulting from the productivity growth in the nontransportation sectors.
AUTHORS: Herrendorf, Berthold; Teixeira, Arilton; Schmitz, James A.
Privatization's impact on private productivity: the case of Brazilian iron ore
A major motivation for the wave of privatizations of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the last twenty years was a belief that privatization would increase economic efficiency. There are now many studies showing most privatizations achieved this goal. Our theme is that the productivity gains from privatization are much more general and widespread than has typically been recognized in this literature. In assessing the productivity gains from privatization, the literature has only examined the productivity gains accruing at the privatized SOEs. But privatization may have significant impact on the private producers that often exist side-by-side with SOEs. In this paper we show that this was indeed the case when Brazil privatized its SOEs in the iron ore industry. That is, after their privatization, the iron ore SOEs dramatically increased their labor productivity, but so did the private iron ore companies in the industry.
AUTHORS: Teixeira, Arilton; Schmitz, James A.