Buffalo Hunt: International Trade and the Virtual Extinction of the North American Bison

62 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2007 Last revised: 20 Mar 2015

See all articles by M. Scott Taylor

M. Scott Taylor

University of Calgary - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2007

Abstract

In the 16th century, North America contained 25-30 million buffalo; by the late 19th century less than 100 remained. While removing the buffalo east of the Mississippi took settlers over 100 years, the remaining 10 to 15 million buffalo on the Great Plains were killed in a punctuated slaughter in a little more than 10 years. I employ theory, data from international trade statistics, and first person accounts to argue that the slaughter on the plains was initiated by a foreign-made innovation and fueled by a foreign demand for industrial leather. Ironically, the ultimate cause of this sad chapter in American environmental history was of European, and not American, origin.

Suggested Citation

Taylor, Michael Scott, Buffalo Hunt: International Trade and the Virtual Extinction of the North American Bison (March 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12969, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=971603

Michael Scott Taylor (Contact Author)

University of Calgary - Department of Economics ( email )

2500 University Drive, NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

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