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Varying-Parameter Supply Functions and the Sources of Economic Distress in American Agriculture, 1866-1914

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  • Thomas F. Cooley
  • Steven J. DeCanio

Abstract

The agrarian unrest in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century is examined. This unrest is often viewed as stemming from the inability of farmers to adapt to changing conditions in world agriculture. This hypothesis is tested in the context of a distributed lag supply function. Varying parameter estimation methods are used to trace the history of the parameters in the supply function and to decompose observed prices into permanent and transitory components over time. The patterns of variation are tested for conformity with a model of rational price-expectation formation. The conclusion is that farmers behaved as economic theory would predict, but that neither theory nor practice gave them relief from the troubles which plagued them.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0057.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0057.

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Date of creation: Sep 1974
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Publication status: published as Cooley, Thomas F. and DeCanio, Steven J. "Varying-Parameter Supply Functions and the Sources of Economic Distresss in American Agriculture, 1866-1914." The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. LIX, No. 1, (February 1977).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0057

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  1. Wright, Gavin, 1974. "Cotton Competition and the Post-Bellum Recovery of the American South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 610-635, September.
  2. Cooley, Thomas F & Prescott, Edward C, 1973. "Tests of an Adaptive Regression Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(2), pages 248-56, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Joseph P. Ferrie, 2005. "History Lessons: The End of American Exceptionalism? Mobility in the United States Since 1850," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 199-215, Summer.

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