Hog Round Marketing, Seed Quality, and Government Policy: Institutional Change in U.S. Cotton Production, 1920-1960
54 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2003
Date Written: April 2003
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.
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