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Early twentieth century American exceptionalism on wheels: the role of rapid automobile adoption in economic development

Dong Cheng and Alyssa Trebino ()
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Alyssa Trebino: Willis Towers Watson

Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, 2021, vol. 14, issue 2, No 7, 221 pages

Abstract: Abstract We investigate the contribution of automobile adoption to state-level real income in the United States using hand-collected historical data of the early twentieth century when the adoption was remarkably rapid. To achieve identification, we construct a Bartik-type instrumental variable for automobile adoption. We find an elasticity of income with respect to automobile adoption between 0.5 and 1. Furthermore, we reveal that the elasticity is significantly larger in high-income and automobile producing states.

Keywords: Automobile; Technology adoption; Income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N72 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s12076-021-00273-6

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