Small Farms, Externalities, and the Dust Bowl of the 1930's
We provide a new and more complete analysis of the origins of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, one of the most severe environmental crises in North America in the 20th Century. Severe drought and wind erosion hit the Great Plains in 1930 and lasted through 1940. There were similar droughts in the 1950s and 1970s, but no comparable level of wind erosion. We explain why. The prevalence of small farms in the 1930s limited private solutions for controlling the downwind externalities associated with wind erosion. Drifting sand from unprotected fields damaged neighboring farms. Small farmers cultivated more of their land and were less likely to invest in erosion control than were larger farmers. Soil Conservation Districts, established by government after 1937, helped coordinate erosion control. This unitized' solution for collective action is similar to that used in other natural resource/environmental settings.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2003|
|Publication status:||published as Hansen, Zeynep K. and Gary D. Libecap. "Small Farms, Externalities, And The Dust Bowl Of The 1930s," Journal of Political Economy, 2004, v112(3,Jun), 665-694.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Wiggins, Steven N & Libecap, Gary D, 1985. "Oil Field Unitization: Contractual Failure in the Presence of Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 368-385, June.
- Kislev, Yoav & Peterson, Willis, 1982. "Prices, Technology, and Farm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 578-595, June.
- Norris, Patricia E. & Batie, Sandra S., 1987. "Virginia Farmers' Soil Conservation Decisions: An Application Of Tobit Analysis," Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 19(01), July.
- Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1998. "The Nature of the Farm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 343-386, October.
- P. H. Stephens, 1937. "Why the Dust Bowl?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 19(3), pages 750-757.
- E. A. Starch, 1939. "Type of Farming Modifications Needed in the Great Plains," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 21(1), pages 114-120.
- Libecap, Gary D & Smith, James L, 1999.
"The Self-Enforcing Provisions of Oil and Gas Unit Operating Agreements: Theory and Evidence,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 526-548, July.
- Gary D. Libecap & James L. Smith, 1999. "The Self-Enforcing Provisions of Oil and Gas Unit Operating Agreements: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Norris, Patricia E. & Batie, Sandra S., 1987. "Virginia Farmers' Soil Conservation Decisions: An Application of Tobit Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(01), pages 79-90, July.
- Roy I. Kimmel, 1940. "Unit Reorganization Program for the Southern Great Plains," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 22(1), pages 264-269.
- Coxhead, Ian, 2000. "Consequences of a Food Security Strategy for Economic Welfare, Income Distribution and Land Degradation: The Philippine Case," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 111-128, January.
- Roland R. Renne, 1935. "Significance of the Ownership Pattern to Land Use Planning," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 17(3), pages 423-432.
- Michael R. Rahm & Wallace E. Huffman, 1984. "The Adoption of Reduced Tillage: The Role of Human Capital and Other Variables," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 66(4), pages 405-413.
- Rahm, M. & Huffman, Wallace, 1984. "The Adoption of Reduced Tillage: The Role of Human Capital and Other Variables," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10977, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Hansen, Zeynep K. & Libecap, Gary D., 2004. "The allocation of property rights to land: US land policy and farm failure in the northern great plains," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 103-129, April.
- Joel, Arthur H., 1937. "Soil Conservation Reconnaissance Survey of the Southern Great Plains Wind-Erosion Area," Technical Bulletins 165669, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Feder, Gershon, 1985. "The relation between farm size and farm productivity : The role of family labor, supervision and credit constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 297-313, August.
- Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 1985. "Farm size, land yields and the agricultural production function: An analysis for fifteen developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 513-534, April. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10055. 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: ()
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.