The U.S. Westward Expansion

40 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2007 Last revised: 7 Oct 2008

See all articles by Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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The U.S. economic development in the nineteenth century was characterized by the westward movement of population and the accumulation of productive land in the West. This paper presents a model of migration and land improvement to identify the quantitatively important forces driving this phenomena. Two forces are key: the decrease in transportation costs induced the westward migration, while population growth was responsible for the investment in productive land.

Keywords: Westward Expansion, land improvement, migration

JEL Classification: E1, J1, O1

Suggested Citation

Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, The U.S. Westward Expansion. International Economic Review, Vol. 49, No.1, pp. 81-110, February 2008. Available at SSRN:

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