The U.S. Westward Expansion

30 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 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 19th century was characterized by the westward movement of population and the accumulation of productive land in the West. This article presents a model of migration and land improvement to identify the quantitatively important forces driving these phenomena. The conclusion is that the decrease in transportation costs induced the westward migration, whereas population growth was responsible for the investment in productive land.

Suggested Citation

Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, The U.S. Westward Expansion. International Economic Review, Vol. 49, Issue 1, pp. 81-110, February 2008. Available at SSRN: or

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