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RESHAPING THE LANDSCAPE: THE IMPACT AND DIFFUSION OF THE TRACTOR IN AMERICAN AGRICULTURE, 1910–1960

  • Alan L. Olmstead and Paul W. Rhode
    • Published online: 22 May 2002
Abstract

This article analyzes the revolutionary impact the tractor had on rural America and examines the economic, technological, and institutional factors governing the machine's diffusion. Our simultaneous-equation regression model helps decipher the complex relationship between farm scale and diffusion. In addition, analyzing diffusion as a capital replacement problem reveals that the shift to the new technology was far more rapid than what has generally been thought and provides a new perspective on the long co-existence of both horses and tractors on farms.

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Corresponding author
Alan L. Olmstead is Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute of Governmental Affairs at the University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616-8617. E-mail: alolmstead@ucdavis.edu. Paul W. Rhode is Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. E-mail: prhode@email.unc.edu.
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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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