Hog Round Marketing, Seed Quality, and Government Policy: Institutional Change in U.S. Cotton Production, 1920-1960
Between 1928 and 1960 U.S. cotton production witnessed a revolution with average yields roughly tripling while the quality of the crop increased significantly. This paper analyzes the key institutional and scientific developments that facilitated the revolution in biological technologies, pointing to the importance of two government programs -- the one-variety community movement and the Smith-Doxey Act -- as catalysts for change. The story displays two phenomena of interest in light of the recent literature: 1. an important real-world example of the workings of Akerlof's lemons model and 2. a case where inventors, during an early phase of the product cycle, actually encouraged consumers to copy and disseminate their intellectual property.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Olmstead, Alan L. and Paul W. Rhode. "Hog-Round Marketing, Seed Quality, And Government Policy: Institutional Change In U.S. Cotton Production, 1920-1960," Journal of Economic History, 2003, v63(2,Jun), 447-488.|
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- Simpson, D.M., 1954. "Natural Cross-Pollination in Cotton," Technical Bulletins 156667, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "Durable-Goods Monopolists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 314-32, April.
- Simpson, D.M., 1954. "Natural Cross-Pollination in Cotton," Technical Bulletins 156738, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Musoke, Moses S. & Olmstead, Alan L., 1982. "The Rise of the Cotton Industry in California: A Comparative Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 385-412, June.
- Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
- Constantine, John H & Alston, Julian M & Smith, Vincent H, 1994. "Economic Impacts of the California One-Variety Cotton Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 951-74, October.
- Whatley, Warren C., 1983. "Labor for the Picking: the New Deal in the South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 905-929, December.
- Howell, L. D. & Watson, Leonard J., 1939. "Cotton Prices in Relation to Cotton Classification Service and to Quality Improvement," Technical Bulletins 168475, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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