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Title:The use of draft animals in America: Economic factors in the choice of an early motive power
Author(s):Kauffman, Kyle Dean
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Alston, Lee J.
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, United States
Economics, General
Economics, Agricultural
Economics, History
Economics, Labor
Abstract:Before the advent of mechanization draft animals were the primary motive power in the United States and throughout the world. Several different types of work animals were used, yet their pattern of use was not random. I argue that draft animal choice was based primarily on the labor hiring arrangements between those who owned the animal and those who worked them. Mules were preferred to horses when principals found it difficult to monitor agents because mules have the peculiar ability to resist injury and abuse.
Chapter 1 presents a broad overview of draft animal use, the major biological differences between the two primary types of draft animals (horses and mules) and finally an overview of the types of labor that worked these animals. Chapter 2 is a history of draft animal use from ancient times to the present. Next, chapter 3 develops a theoretical framework in which owners decide on which type of draft animal to issue to their workers: (1) an expensive mule that is more resistant to abuse or (2) a less costly horse which is more easily harmed.
The remainder of the dissertation is an empirical investigation into draft animal choice in the United States. Chapter 4 tests the hypothesis that mule use in agriculture in the South varied positively with sharecroppers in order to limit the capital depreciation of workstock. Chapter 5 examines why the mule was used so heavily in mining. It is shown that its use in coal mines can be traced to abnormally high agency problems found in underground work. Chapter 6, using data from the mid-nineteenth century, argues that the army issued mules to forts when the ratio of officers to enlisted men was low and horses when the ratio of officers to enlisted men was high. Finally, chapter 7 summarizes the findings and suggests other examples where technology choice might be driven by principal-agent problems.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Kauffman, Kyle Dean
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9411667
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9411667

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