Do poor economies grow faster than rich ones? This important economic question (which we call beta-convergence) is analyzed in this paper using two regional data sets: 47 Prefectures in Japan and 48 States of the U.S. We find clear evidence of convergence in both countries: poor prefectures and states grow faster. We also find that there is intra- regional as well as interregional convergence. We analyze the cross sectional standard deviation across prefectures and states. We find that in both countries there has been a long term decline (a phenomenon that we call sigma-convergence). Finally we study the determinants of the rates of regional in- migration and, again, find striking similarities. We find little evidence in favor of the argument that population movements are the reason why we find convergence across economies.
Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets and Population, R230. Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General (includes data sources), O400. Geographic Labor Market Studies, 8241. Regional Economic Studies, 9412. Theory of Regional Economics, 9411. Growth Theories--General, 1110.