Productivity Growth and the Regional Dynamics of Antebellum Southern Development
Between 1800 and 1860, the United States became the preeminent world supplier of cotton as output increased sixty-fold. Technological changes, including the introduction of improved cotton varieties, contributed significantly to this growth. Measured output per worker in the cotton sector rose four-fold and large regional differences emerged. By 1840, output per worker in the New South was twice that in the Old South. The economy-wide increase is explained, in equal measure, by growth in output per worker at fixed locations and by the reallocation of labor across regions. These results offer a new view on the dynamics of economic development in antebellum America.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Alan L. Olmstead, “Productivity Growth and the Regional Dynamics of Antebellum Southern Development,” pp. 180 - 213 in Paul W. Rhode, Joshua L. Rosenbloom, and David F. Weiman, eds., Economic Evolution and Revolution in Historical Tim e (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011) (with Paul W. Rhode).|
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