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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 sixteenth century, North America contained 25 to 30 million buffalo; by the late nineteenth century fewer than 100 remained. While removing the buffalo east of the Mississippi took over 100 years, the remaining 10 to 15 million buffalo on the Great Plains were killed in a punctuated slaughter lasting little more than ten years. I employ theory, international trade statistics, and first-person accounts to argue the slaughter was initiated by a foreign-made innovation and fueled by a foreign demand for industrial leather. European demand and American policy failure are jointly responsible for the "Slaughter on the Plains." (JEL F14, N51, N71, Q57)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 3162-3195, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3162-95
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Coate Stephen & Knight Brian, 2010. "Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-59, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Gori, Giuseppe Francesco & Lambertini, Luca, 2013. "Trade liberalisation between asymmetric countries with environmentally concerned consumers," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 549-560.
    4. Brooks A. Kaiser & James A. Roumasset, 2014. "Transitional Forces in a Resource Based Economy: Phases of Economic and Institutional Development in Hawaii," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 5(2).
    5. Richter, Andries & Dakos, Vasilis, 2015. "Profit fluctuations signal eroding resilience of natural resources," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 12-21.
    6. Donna Feir & Rob Gillezeau & Maggie Jones, 2017. "The Slaughter of the North American Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains," Department Discussion Papers 1701, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    7. Gars, Johan & Spiro, Daniel, 2014. "Uninsurance through Trade," Memorandum 13/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    8. Erhardt, Tobias & Weder, Rolf, 2015. "Shark Hunting: International Trade and the Imminent Extinction of Heterogeneous Species," Working papers 2015/07, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    9. Itziar Lazkano & Linda Nøstbakken, 2016. "Quota Enforcement and Capital Investment in Natural Resource Industries," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 339-354.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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