Hog Round Marketing, Seed Quality, and Government Policy: Institutional Change in U.S. Cotton Production, 1920-1960

54 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2003

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: April 2003

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Olmstead, Alan L. and Rhode, Paul W., Hog Round Marketing, Seed Quality, and Government Policy: Institutional Change in U.S. Cotton Production, 1920-1960 (April 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9612. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=394720

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

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