The food problem and the evolution of international income levels

Douglas Gollin, Stephen L. Parente, Richard Rogerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


In most poor countries, large fractions of land, labor, and other productive resources are devoted to producing food for subsistence needs. We show that a model incorporating the "food problem" can provide new and useful insights into the evolution of international income levels. In particular, we find that the food problem can explain why some countries started to realize increases in per capita output more than 250 years later in history than others. We also show that the food problem has important implications for growth miracles and the speed at which a country converges to its balanced growth path.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1230-1255
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Monetary Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Food problem
  • International income differences


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