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Rural Response to Increased Demand: Crop Choice in the Midwest, 1860–1880

  • Mary Eschelbach Gregson (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S002205070001295X
  • Published online: 01 March 2009
Abstract

Demand for farm products grew, and the cost of marketing them shrank, between 1860 and 1880. The resulting commercialization of Midwestern agriculture has been widely discussed, but the production strategies that farmers pursued have not been adequately described or modeled. I find that an endowment-contingent model of crop choice provides a consistent explanation for farm production strategies at the micro-level on Missouri farms. The results call for a re-examination of the conventional wisdom that commercialization fostered specialization at the regional level.

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Philip R. P. Coelho , and James F. Shepherd , “Regional Differences in Real Wages: The United States, 1851–1880,” Explorations in Economic History, 13 (071976), pp. 203–30.

Robert Fogel , and Stanley Engerman , “The Relative Efficiency of Slavery: A Comparison of Northern and Southern Agriculture in 1860,” Explorations in Economic History, 8 (Spring1971), pp. 353–67.

C. Knick Harley , “Transportation, the World Wheat Trade, and the Kuznets Cycle, 1850–1913,” Explorations in Economic History, 17 (071980), pp. 218–50.

Gary Walton , and Hugh Rockoff , History of the American Economy (6th edn., San Diego, CA, 1990).

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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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