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The postbellum demand for cotton revisited

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  • Craft, Erik D.
  • Monks, James

Abstract

The literature offers both supply-side and cotton demand-side explanations for the reduced level and growth of income in the postbellum South. Demand-side evidence begins with a single-equation relationship regressing the price of cotton on quantity and a trend term, although subsequent researchers have critiqued the economic significance of the supposed slowed growth in demand. Using a system of simultaneous equations, which allows for correction both for autocorrelation in the error terms and correlation of the error terms across equations, we find cotton demand to be unit elastic from 1865--1866 to 1894--1895 and that it grew between 1.1% and 2.8% a year.

Suggested Citation

  • Craft, Erik D. & Monks, James, 2008. "The postbellum demand for cotton revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 199-206, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:45:y:2008:i:2:p:199-206
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wright, Gavin, 1979. "World Demand for Cotton during the Nineteenth Century: Reply," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(04), pages 1023-1024, December.
    2. Ransom, Roger & Sutch, Richard, 1975. "The impact of the Civil War and of emancipation on Southern agriculture," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-28, January.
    3. Hanson, John R., 1979. "World Demand for Cotton during the Nineteenth Century: Wright's Estimates Re-examined," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(04), pages 1015-1021, December.
    4. 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.
    5. David G. Surdam, 1998. "King Cotton: Monarch or Pretender? The State of the Market for Raw Cotton on the Eve of the American Civil War," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 51(1), pages 113-132, February.
    6. Alston, Lee J. & Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Contractual Mix in Southern Agriculture since the Civil War: Facts, Hypotheses, and Tests," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 327-353, June.
    7. Irwin James R., 1994. "Explaining the Decline in Southern per Capita Output after Emancipation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 336-356, July.
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