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Contractual Mix in Southern Agriculture since the Civil War: Facts, Hypotheses, and Tests

Lee J. Alston and Robert Higgs
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 1982), pp. 327-353
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2120131
Page Count: 27
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Contractual Mix in Southern Agriculture since the Civil War: Facts, Hypotheses, and Tests
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Abstract

In the South after 1865, workers and property owners employed a variety of contracts--wage payment, crop sharing, and land rental--to bring together cooperating resources in agricultural production. The contractual mix varied over time and space, depending on the relative resource endowments of the contracting parties, the prevailing risk conditions, and the transactions costs of alternative contractual arrangements. To understand the contractual mix, certain empirical distinctions must be made, and the major hypotheses advanced to explain the mix must be seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. These hypotheses, however, differ in their demonstrated ability to account for the empirical variance. In addition to factual clarification and theoretical explication, the paper presents a new sample of plantation data and a new econometric procedure for performing more detailed and better controlled tests of hypotheses.

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