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Farm Value and Retirement of Farm Owners in Early-Twentieth-Century America

Authors
Journal
Explorations in Economic History
0014-4983
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
36
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/exeh.1999.0723

Abstract

Abstract This study explores the effect of farm value on retirement decisions of farm owners in the early twentieth century. The average farm value per acre of county, as of either 1900 or 1910, and the growth rate over the decade had a strong positive effect on the probability of retirement of farm owners in 1910. Farm owners were more responsive to a change in farm value if it was not produced by a shift in the farmland productivity, which raised the opportunity cost of retirement. I argue that the rapid growth in the value of farm properties between 1900 and 1910 was a major force behind the decline in the labor force participation rate of males ages 65 and over during the same period.

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