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Beyond the Threshold: An Analysis of the Characteristics and Behavior of Early Reaper Adopters

Author

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  • Olmstead, Alan L.
  • Rhode, Paul W.

Abstract

This article analyzes a large quantity of new data documenting the actual characteristics and behavior of early reaper adopters. It shows that a surprisingly large number of small-scale farmers were among the early purchasers and that institutional evolution—the emergence of local markets and cooperative exchanges for reaper services—encouraged rapid diffusion. These findings call into question the standard interpretation of northern farms as self-contained production units and, more specifically, challenge the usefulness of both the farm-specific-threshold model and the family-labor-constraint model.

Suggested Citation

  • Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 1995. "Beyond the Threshold: An Analysis of the Characteristics and Behavior of Early Reaper Adopters," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 27-57, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:55:y:1995:i:01:p:27-57_04
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan L. Olmstead & Paul W. Rhode, 2000. "The diffusion of the tractor in American Agriculture: 1910-1960," ICER Working Papers 13-2000, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    2. Liang Lu & Thomas Reardon & David Zilberman, 2016. "Supply Chain Design and Adoption of Indivisible Technology," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1419-1431.
    3. Scott A. Carson, 2016. "Frederick Jackson Turner and the Westward Expanse: Changing Net Nutrition with Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 5869, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Rebecca Taylor & David Zilberman, 2017. "Diffusion of Drip Irrigation: The Case of California," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 16-40.
    5. Thomas Daum & Regina Birner, 2017. "The neglected governance challenges of agricultural mechanisation in Africa – insights from Ghana," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 9(5), pages 959-979, October.
    6. Richard Pomfret, 2000. "State-Directed Diffusion of Technology: The Mechanization of Cotton-Farming in Soviet Central Asia," School of Economics Working Papers 2000-03, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    7. Birner, R. & Adu-Baffour, F. & Daum, T., 2018. "Can Big Companies' Initiatives to Promote Mechanization Benefit Small Farms in Africa? A Case Study from Zambia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277288, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Adu-Baffour, Ferdinand & Daum, Thomas & Birner, Regina, 2018. "Can Big Companies’ Initiatives to Promote Mechanization Benefit Small Farms in Africa? A Case Study from Zambia," Discussion Papers 273521, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    9. Zhang, Xiaobo & Yang, Jin & Thomas, Reardon, 2017. "Mechanization outsourcing clusters and division of labor in Chinese agriculture," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 184-195.
    10. Taylor, Rebecca & Zilberman, David, 2015. "The Diffusion of Process Innovation: The Case of Drip Irrigation in California," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205320, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Lew, Byron, 2000. "The Diffusion of Tractors on the Canadian Prairies: The Threshold Model and the Problem of Uncertainty," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 189-216, April.
    12. Sara Ratna Qanti & Thomas Reardon & Arief Iswariyadi, 2017. "Triangle of Linkages among Modernising Markets, Sprayer–traders, and Mango-farming Intensification in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(2), pages 187-208, May.
    13. Adu-Baffour, Ferdinand & Daum, Thomas & Birner, Regina, 2019. "Can small farms benefit from big companies’ initiatives to promote mechanization in Africa? A case study from Zambia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 133-145.
    14. Sarkar, Jayati, 1998. " Technological Diffusion: Alternative Theories and Historical Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 131-176, April.

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