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Buffalo Hunt: International Trade and the Virtual Extinction of the North American Bison

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  • M. Scott Taylor

Abstract

In the 16th century, North America contained 25-30 million buffalo; by the late 19th century less than 100 remained. While removing the buffalo east of the Mississippi took settlers over 100 years, the remaining 10 to 15 million buffalo on the Great Plains were killed in a punctuated slaughter in a little more than 10 years. I employ theory, data from international trade statistics, and first person accounts to argue that the slaughter on the plains was initiated by a foreign-made innovation and fueled by a foreign demand for industrial leather. Ironically, the ultimate cause of this sad chapter in American environmental history was of European, and not American, origin.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12969.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Publication status: published as M. Scott Taylor, 2011. "Buffalo Hunt: International Trade and the Virtual Extinction of the North American Bison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3162-95, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12969

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  1. Carlos, Ann M. & Lewis, Frank D., 1993. "Indians, the Beaver, and the Bay: The Economics of Depletion in the Lands of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1700–1763," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(03), pages 465-494, September.
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  4. Farrow, Scott, 1995. "Extinction and market forces: two case studies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 115-123, May.
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  6. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Trade, Politics,and the Environment: Tailpipe vs. Smokestack," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0406x646, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  7. Lueck, Dean, 2002. "The Extermination and Conservation of the American Bison," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages S609-52, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Wei, Wenjie, 2014. "Welfare and Environmental Effects of Subsidies and Tariffs in North-South Trade in Renewable Energy Equipment," 2014 Conference (58th), February 4-7, 2014, Port Maquarie, Australia 165887, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  2. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2009. "Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis," Working Papers 2009-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Giuseppe Francesco Gori & Luca Lambertini, 2012. "Trade Liberalisation between Asymmetric Countries with Environmentally Concerned Consumers," Working Paper Series 40_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  4. Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sébastien Jean, 2013. "Trade liberalization in the bio-economy: coping with a new landscape," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(s1), pages 173-182, November.
  5. Brooks A. Kaiser & James A. Roumasset, 2014. "Transitional Forces in a Resource Based Economy: Phases of Economic and Institutional Development in Hawaii," Working Papers 117/14, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Environmental and Business Economics.

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