Biological Innovation and Productivity Growth in the Antebellum Cotton Economy
The Cliometrics literature on slave efficiency has generally focused on static questions. We take a decidedly more dynamic approach. Drawing on the records of 142 plantations with 509 crops years, we show that the average daily cotton picking rate increased about four-fold between 1801 and 1862. We argue that the development and diffusion of new cotton varieties were the primary sources of the increased efficiency. These finding have broad implications for understanding the South's preeminence in the world cotton market, the pace of westward expansion, and the importance of indigenous technological innovation.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2008|
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|Publication status:||published as Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2008. "Biological Innovation and Productivity Growth in the Antebellum Cotton Economy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(04), pages 1123-1171, December.|
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- Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2002.
"The Red Queen and the Hard Reds: Productivity Growth in American Wheat, 1800 1940,"
The Journal of Economic History,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 929-966, December.
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