Sectoral technology and structural transformation

Berthold Herrendorf, Christopher Herrington, Ákos Valentinyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We assess how the properties of technology affect structural transformation, i.e., the reallocation of production factors across the broad sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, and services. To this end, we estimate sectoral constant elasticity of substitution (CES) and Cobb-Douglas production functions on postwar US data. We find that differences in technical progress across the three sectors are the dominant force behind structural transformation whereas other differences across sectoral technology are of secondorder importance. Our findings imply that Cobb-Douglas sectoral production functions that differ only in technical progress capture the main technological forces behind the postwar US structural transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-133
Number of pages30
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Macroeconomics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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