New Goods and the Transition to a New Economy
44 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2004 Last revised: 30 Jun 2010
Date Written: September 2004
The U.S. went through a remarkable structural transformation between 1800 and 2000. In 1800 the majority of people worked in agriculture. Barely anyone did by 2000. What caused the rapid demise of agriculture in the economy? The analysis here concentrates on the development of new consumer goods associated with technological progress. The introduction of new goods into the framework lessens the need to rely on satiation points, subsistence levels of consumption, and the like. The analysis suggests that between 1800 and 2000 economic welfare grew by at least 1.5 percent a year, and maybe as much as 10 percent annually, the exact number depending upon the metric preferred.
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