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Manufacturing Where Agriculture Predominates: Evidence from the South and Midwest in 1860

  • Kenneth L. Sokoloff
  • Viken Tchakerian

We employ the 1860 Census of Manufactures to study rural antebellum manufacturing in the South and Midwest, and find that manufacturing output per capita was similar across regions in counties specialized in the same agricultural products. The southern deficit in manufactures per capita appears to have been largely attributable to the very low levels of output in counties specialized in cotton production. This implies that it was the South's capabilities for the highly profitable cotton production, not the existence of slavery per se, that was responsible for the region's limited industrial development -- at least in rural areas. The other major finding is that in both the South and the Midwest measured total factor productivity was significantly lower in counties specialized in wheat (the most seasonal of agricultural products as regards labor requirements). This is consistent with suggestions that agricultural districts where the predominant crops were highly seasonal in their requirements for labor were well suited to support manufacturing enterprise during the offpeak periods

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0100.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
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Publication status: published as Sokoloff, Kenneth L. and Viken Tchakerian. "Manufacturing Where Agriculture Predominates: Evidence From The South And Midwest In 1860," Explorations in Economic History, 1997, v34(3,Jul), 243-264.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0100
Note: DAE
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  1. Magnac, Thierry & Postel-Vinay, Gilles, 1997. "Wage Competition between Agriculture and Industry in Mid-Nineteenth Century France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-26, January.
  2. Bateman, Fred & Weiss, Thomas, 1975. "Comparative Regional Development in Antebellum Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(01), pages 182-208, March.
  3. Meyer, David R., 1988. "The industrial retardation of southern cities, 1860-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 366-386, October.
  4. Field, Alexander James, 1978. "Sectoral shift in antebellum Massachusetts: A reconsideration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 146-171, April.
  5. Gullickson, Gay L., 1983. "Agriculture and Cottage Industry: Redefining the Causes of Proto-Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 831-850, December.
  6. Goldin, Claudia & Sokoloff, Kenneth, 1982. "Women, Children, and Industrialization in the Early Republic: Evidence from the Manufacturing Censuses," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(04), pages 741-774, December.
  7. Goldin, Claudia & Sokoloff, Kenneth, 1984. "The Relative Productivity Hypothesis of Industrialization: The American Case, 1820 to 1850," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 461-87, August.
  8. Weiman, David F., 1988. "Urban Growth on the Periphery of the Antebellum Cotton Belt: Atlanta, 1847–1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(02), pages 259-272, June.
  9. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & David Dollar, 1991. "Agricultural Seasonality and the Organization of Manufacturing During Early Industrialization: The Contrast Between Britain and the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Tchakerian, Viken, 1994. "Productivity, Extent of Markets, and Manufacturing in the Late Antebellum South and Midwest," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 497-525, September.
  11. Fogel, Robert W & Engerman, Stanley L, 1977. "Explaining the Relative Efficiency of Slave Agriculture in the Antebellum South," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 275-96, June.
  12. Fogel, Robert W & Engerman, Stanley L, 1980. "Explaining the Relative Efficiency of Slave Agriculture in the Antebellum South: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 672-90, September.
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