IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Fence Laws vs. Herd Laws: A Nineteenth Century Kansas Paradox

Listed author(s):
  • Nicolas Sanchez


    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Jeffrey B. Nugent

    (University of Southern California)

This paper considers the legal conflict between farmers and cattle raisers over the fencing of animals and crops within the context of Kansas in the 1870s, when counties were given the option to retain the traditional fence laws (requiring crops to be fenced in) or to adopt the herd laws (requiring the restraining of animals by means of herding). Since barbed wire fencing did not reach Kansas until 1875, and a very detailed agricultural census was recorded that year, this study is able to conduct statistical tests of various hypotheses as to why approximately half the counties chose fence laws while the other half chose herd laws. The study pays close attention to the hypotheses suggested by Earl Hayter (an agricultural historian), law and economics specialists, and the property rights theorists. Its main findings are that, while previous hypotheses that use public choice and group interests consideration in explaining the choice of the legal regime are borne out, the traditional conceptual division between farmers and cattle raisers turn out to be overly simplified due to some important complementarities in production between some crops and animal husbandry. Hence, the results demonstrate that a clear distinction needs to be made between corn farmers/cattle producers, on the one hand, and wheat farmers on the other. The empirical findings also challenge the generally accepted role of population desity in determining the legal regime.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 9805.

in new window

Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jan 1998
Publication status: Published in Land Economics, November 2000, Vol. 76:4, pp. 518-533.
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:9805
Contact details of provider: Phone: (508)793-3362
Fax: (508) 793-3708
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:9805. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Victor Matheson)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.