The Impact of World War I on Tractor Adoption: Reflections on the Industrial Ideal

19 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2013  

Carrie A. Meyer

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 26, 2013

Abstract

While economists generally assume that producers adopt new technology when it makes sense to do so, historians do not necessarily agree; and the views of the latter may have greater influence over popular thought. Deborah Fitzgerald, a historian of technology at MIT has argued that farmers were essentially bamboozled into buying tractors in the 1920s by “the industrial ideal” – a set of progressive ideas spread by business leaders, economists, engineers, and the county extension agents of land grant universities. This paper takes issue with the Fitzgerald thesis.

Keywords: Tractor, Progressivism, WWI

JEL Classification: N5, O33

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Carrie A., The Impact of World War I on Tractor Adoption: Reflections on the Industrial Ideal (November 26, 2013). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 13-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2364692

Carrie A. Meyer (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Enterprise Hall MSN 3G4
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1143 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

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