University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture
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Abstract

The development and evolution of an agricultural system is influenced by many factors including binding constraints (limiting factors), choice of investments, and historic presence of land and income inequality. In this study, we analyzed the development of two farming systems: expansive, mechanized farming in the Arkansas Delta and crofting in the Scottish Highlands. We hypothesized that the current farm size in each region can be partially attributed to the binding constraints of either land or labor. The Induced Innovation Model and the Gini coefficient were employed in the analysis of data pertaining to the respective regions’ agricultural constraints, investments, and economic inequalities. In Scotland, it was found that the continuous binding constraint was the availability of arable land. In Arkansas, the binding constraint began as land, but experienced points of inflection where the constraint became labor (first as a result of the end of slavery and then sustained by mechanization). Each region’s respective inelastic supplies contributed to the investments that were used to maximize the output per binding constraint. We also explored the idea that those investments related to binding constraints have influenced the levels of land and income inequality in the Highlands and the Delta today. The historic presence of slavery in the south has contributed to the Arkansas Delta’s relatively high level of income and land inequality today

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