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The cost of railroad regulation: The disintegration of American Agricultural Markets in the interwar period

Author

Listed:
  • Federico, Giovanni

    (European University Institute and University of Pisa)

  • Sharp, Paul

    () (Department of Business and Economics)

Abstract

We investigate the costs of transportation regulation using the example of agricultural markets in the United States. Using a large database of prices by state of agricultural commodities, we find that dispersion fell for many commodities until the First World War. We demonstrate that this reflected changes in transportation costs which in turn in the long run depended on productivity growth in railroads. 1920 marked a change in this relationship, however, and between the First and Second World Wars we find considerable disintegration of agricultural markets, ultimately as a consequence of the 1920 Transportation Act. We argue that this benefited railroad companies in the 1920s and workers in the 1930s, and we put forward an estimate of the welfare losses for the consumers of railroad services (i.e. agricultural producers and final consumers).

Suggested Citation

  • Federico, Giovanni & Sharp, Paul, 2012. "The cost of railroad regulation: The disintegration of American Agricultural Markets in the interwar period," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 20/2012, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2012_020
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hryshko, Dmytro & José Luengo-Prado, María & Sørensen, Bent E., 2010. "House prices and risk sharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 975-987.
    2. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez & Martin Uribe, 2011. "Risk Matters: The Real Effects of Volatility Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2530-2561.
    3. Benassy-Quere, Agnes & Coeure, Benoit & Jacquet, Pierre & Pisani-Ferry, Jean, 2010. "Economic Policy: Theory and Practice," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195322736.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sharp, Paul & Uebele, Martin, 2013. "Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Market Integration in the United States: A long run perspective," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 10/2013, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
    2. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2015. "How the Danes discovered Britain: the international integration of the Danish dairy industry before 1880," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 432-453.
    3. Chilosi, David & Federico, Giovanni, 2015. "Early globalizations: The integration of Asia in the world economy, 1800–1938," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-18.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Market integration; price convergence; United States; agriculture; transportation regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative

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