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Land Grants to American Railroads: Social Cost or Social Benefit?

Lloyd J. Mercer
The Business History Review
Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer, 1969), pp. 134-151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3112269
Page Count: 18
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Land Grants to American Railroads: Social Cost or Social Benefit?
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Abstract

Every schoolboy knows that a large fraction of the American public domain was granted to pioneer railroads in the nineteenth century. But was the federal land-grant policy socially beneficial? Professor Mercer provides one imaginative answer based upon an analysis of the economic issues involved and estimates of the private and social rates of return on the investment in the subsidized railroads.

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