DINAH DUFFY MARTINI a1andEUGENE SILBERBERG a2 a1 Completed her Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle. a2 Professor, Department of Economics, Box 353330, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3330.
A substantial literature exists claiming the adoption of tractors was inefficiently slow. We develop a linear programming model of farms that specifically incorporates the opportunity cost of the farmer's time and apply it to farms in Iowa during the interwar period. We develop technological coefficients derived at the task level, based on the data and agricultural reports from that period. By valuing the time saved by tractors, we demonstrate that the seemingly slow rate of tractor adoption was in fact wealth maximizing. Tractors were widely adopted only after the improvement in implements that came late in this period.