Convergence across States and Regions

Robert J. Barro and Xavier X. Sala-i-Martin

Brookings Papers on Economic Activity; n1 1991, pp. 107-58.


An important economic question is whether poor countries or regions tend to converge toward rich ones. For the U.S. states, we estimate the rate of convergence of per capita personal income from 1880 to 1988 to be around 2 percent per year whether we look within or across four geographical regions. A similar rate of convergence applies to gross state product from 1963 to 1986. Convergence operates within eight major sectors of production as well as for state aggregates. We also find a rate of convergence of about 2 percent per year for per capita GDP across 73 regions of seven European countries from 1950 to 1985.


General Spatial Economics: Analysis of Growth, Development, and Changes, R110. Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General (includes data sources), O400. Regional Economic Studies, 9412. Theory of Regional Economics, 9411. Urban Economics and Public Policy, 9310. Growth Theories-- General, 1110.