The Journal of Economic History


Not on My Farm! Resistance to Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication in the United States

Alan L. Olmstead a1 and Paul W. Rhode a2
a1 Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute of Governmental Affairs at the University of California, Davis, and member of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.
a2 McClelland Professor of Economics at the University of Arizona and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


The active opposition to technical change has frequently impeded economic growth. This article examines the widespread resistance to government-led campaigns to use new tuberculin testing technologies to eradicate bovine tuberculosis in the United States. We explore three issues: the political economy of opposition; the role of earlier scientific controversies in the discourse; and the techniques used by the opponents. Over time, the protests shifted from challenging the scientific merits of the testing technology to more nuts-and-bolts distributional and administrative issues.