The Diffusion of the Tractor in American Agriculture: 1910-60

50 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2000 Last revised: 23 Jun 2012

See all articles by Alan L. Olmstead

Alan L. Olmstead

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Paul W. Rhode

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2000

Abstract

This paper examines the impact and diffusion of the gasoline tractor in American agriculture. A key feature of the transition from horses to tractors was a long intermediate stage when both modes of power were used on the same farm. This is largely explained in the technical limitations of early tractors. In addition, we explore how rural markets and institutions adjusted to facilitate diffusion. Our simultaneous-equation regression analysis reveals that farm scale and tractor adoption had positive, independent effects on each other. Finally, we analyze diffusion as a capital replacement problem, which reveals that the shift to the new technology came far sooner than has generally been thought.

Suggested Citation

Olmstead, Alan L. and Rhode, Paul W., The Diffusion of the Tractor in American Agriculture: 1910-60 (October 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7947. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=245736

Alan L. Olmstead

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Paul W. Rhode (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
30
Abstract Views
1,514
PlumX Metrics