Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Free Rider Problem in Agriculture

Back before I was born farmers experimented with voluntary cooperation in limiting production. Unfortunately it's hard to sustain because of the free rider problem. Here's another instance from the 1930 blog:

Minnesota Gov. T Christianson says doubts success of Farm Board campaign to reduce wheat acreage; approach should start at the smalller cooperative units and build up rather than working top down from national agency, and should be focused on substituting other crops such as flax for wheat. Requiring farmers to restrict output of all products would be strongly opposed as it “would permanently subordinate agriculture to industry,” since farmers wouldn't be able to produce a surplus to sell abroad as industry can.

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