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State-Directed Diffusion of Technology: The Mechanization of Cotton-Farming in Soviet Central Asia

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  • Richard Pomfret

    () (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

Abstract

When Soviet central planners began to mechanize the cotton harvest in earnest in 1958, they expected more rapid diffusion than the market-driven process that had begun in the United States a decade earlier. But despite high output of cotton-picking machines, the share of the crop harvested mechanically grew more slowly than in the United States. The factor proportions in Central Asia did not justify mechanization: although planners could enforce introduction of the new technology, investment in cotton-harvesting machines was largely a waste of resources. The costs of premature introduction are estimated at over one billion US dollars in 1960s prices.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2000-03
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    File URL: http://www.economics.adelaide.edu.au/research/papers/doc/wp2000-03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Musoke, Moses S., 1981. "Mechanizing cotton production in the American south: The tractor, 1915-1960," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 347-375, November.
    2. Olmstead, Alan L., 1979. "The Diffusion of the Reaper: One More Time!," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(02), pages 475-476, June.
    3. Pomfret, Richard, 2000. "Agrarian Reform in Uzbekistan: Why Has the Chinese Model Failed to Deliver?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 269-284, January.
    4. Pomfret, Richard, 1976. "The Mechanization of Reaping in Nineteenth-Century Ontario: A Case Study of the Pace and Causes of the Diffusion of Embodied Technical Change," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 399-415, June.
    5. Rosenberg,Nathan, 1994. "Exploring the Black Box," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521459556.
    6. 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(01), pages 27-57, March.
    7. Musoke, Moses S. & Olmstead, Alan L., 1982. "The Rise of the Cotton Industry in California: A Comparative Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 385-412, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Warren C. Whatley, 1985. "A History of Mechanization in the Cotton South: The Institutional Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1191-1215.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    technological change in agriculture; innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • N55 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P32 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Collectives; Communes; Agricultural Institutions
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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