The Impact of the Boll Weevil, 1892-1932

39 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016

See all articles by Fabian Lange

Fabian Lange

McGill University

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: May 1, 2008

Abstract

The boll weevil is America’s most celebrated agricultural pest. We analyze new county-level panel data to provide sharp estimates of the time-path of insect's effects on the southern economy. We find that in anticipation of the contact, farmers increased production, attempting to squeeze one last large crop. Upon arrival, the weevil had a large negative and lasting impact on cotton production, acreage, and especially yields. In response, farmers did not take land out of agricultural use instead shifting to other crops. We also find striking effects on land values and population movements.

Suggested Citation

Lange, Fabian and Olmstead, Alan L. and Rhode, Paul W., The Impact of the Boll Weevil, 1892-1932 (May 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2872297 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2872297

Fabian Lange (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Alan L. Olmstead

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

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Paul W. Rhode

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

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