Biological Innovation and Productivity Growth in the Antebellum Cotton Economy
AbstractThe Cliometrics literature on slave efficiency has generally focused on static questions. We take a decidedly more dynamic approach. Drawing on the records of 142 plantations with 509 crops years, we show that the average daily cotton picking rate increased about four-fold between 1801 and 1862. We argue that the development and diffusion of new cotton varieties were the primary sources of the increased efficiency. These finding have broad implications for understanding the South's preeminence in the world cotton market, the pace of westward expansion, and the importance of indigenous technological innovation.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.
Volume (Year): 68 (2008)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
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Other versions of this item:
- Alan L. Olmstead & Paul W. Rhode, 2008. "Biological Innovation and Productivity Growth in the Antebellum Cotton Economy," NBER Working Papers 14142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
- N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Wright, Gavin, 1979. "The Efficiency of Slavery: Another Interpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 219-26, March.
- Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2002.
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The Journal of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 929-966, December.
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- Metzer, Jacob, 1975. "Rational management, modern business practices, and economies of scale in the ante-bellum southern plantations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 123-150, April.
- Olmstead,Alan L. & Rhode,Paul W., 2008.
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521673877, December.
- Passell, Peter & Wright, Gavin, 1972. "The Effects of Pre-Civil War Territorial Expansion on the Price of Slaves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1188-1202, Nov.-Dec..
- Howard Bodenhorn, 2011.
"Manumission in nineteenth-century Virginia,"
Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History,
Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 5(2), pages 145-164, June.
- Alan L. Olmstead & Paul W. Rhode, 2010. "Productivity Growth and the Regional Dynamics of Antebellum Southern Development," NBER Working Papers 16494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wright, Brian D., 2012. "Grand missions of agricultural innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 1716-1728.
- McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen, 2009. "Britain, China, and the Irrelevance of Stage Theories," MPRA Paper 18291, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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