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Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Market Integration in the United States: A long run perspective

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  • Sharp, Paul

    ()
    (Department of Business and Economics)

  • Uebele, Martin

    ()
    (Faculty of Arts)

Abstract

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus by policymakers on rural infrastructure in the United States, including most recently tax credits to encourage investment. Previous work has documented the importance of railroad expansion for nineteenth century development, and demonstrated that policy failure led to the disintegration of agricultural markets in the interwar period, with potentially serious macroeconomic consequences. Using a database of average prices by state of seven agricultural products for the period ca. 1870-2010, we extend this analysis to the postSecond World War period. We find a striking disintegration in recent decades, as measured by price dispersion, which we attribute to decades of underinvestment, particularly in railroads. We thus provide strong support for the present policy focus on investment in rural infrastructure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark in its series Discussion Papers of Business and Economics with number 10/2013.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 05 Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2013_010

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Postal: Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark
Phone: 65 50 32 33
Fax: 65 50 32 37
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Web page: http://www.sdu.dk/ivoe
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Keywords: United States; agriculture; market integration; rural infrastructure;

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  1. Mario J. Crucini & Mototsugu Shintani & Takayuki Tsuruga, 2009. "The Law of One Price Without the Border: The Role of Distance Versus Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 14835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sharp, Paul & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2013. "Globalization revisited: Market integration and the wheat trade between North America and Britain from the eighteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 88-98.
  3. Wolfram Schlenker & Michael J. Roberts, 2006. "Nonlinear Effects of Weather on Corn Yields ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 391-398.
  4. Federico, Giovanni & Sharp, Paul, 2012. "The cost of railroad regulation: The disintegration of American Agricultural Markets in the interwar period," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark 20/2012, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.
  5. Uebele, Martin, 2011. "National and international market integration in the 19th century: Evidence from comovement," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 226-242, April.
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