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Economic and Geographic Mobility on the Farming Frontier: Evidence from Appanoose County, Iowa 1850-1870

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  • David W. Galenson
  • Clayne L. Pope
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the characteristics of the early settlers on the midwestern farming frontier, the correlates of their geographic mobility, and the determinants of their wealth. Using evidence drawn from the manuscripts of the federal censuses of 1850-1870, we find average rates of growth of wealth over time that were considerably above the national average, a steeper cross-sectional relationship between wealth and age than those found for populations drawn more broadly from throughout the United States at the same time, and a substantial positive effect of early arrival on the frontier on wealth levels. These results suggest that very high levels of economic opportunity may have been a characteristic of the nineteenth-century farming frontier.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/h0004.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0004.

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    Date of creation: May 1989
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    Publication status: published as Journal of Economic History, vol. XLIX, no. 3, pp. 635-655, Sept. 1989.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0004

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    Cited by:
    1. Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Health and Wealth Accumulation: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century America," NBER Working Papers 10035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stewart, James I., 2012. "Migration to U.S. frontier cities and job opportunity, 1860–1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 528-542.
    3. Lee, Chulhee, 2008. "Health, Information, and Migration: Geographic Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1860–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 862-899, September.
    4. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2001. "The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World," NBER Working Papers 8512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Livio Di Matteo, 2008. "Wealth accumulation motives: evidence from the probate records of Ontario, 1892 and 1902," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 2(2), pages 143-171, July.
    6. Gary D. Libecap & Dean Lueck, 2009. "The Demarcation of Land and the Role of Coordinating Institutions," NBER Working Papers 14942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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