restricted access Religiosity’s Impact on Agricultural Investment on the American Frontier

This paper investigates the impact of religiosity on agricultural investment in the Great Plains region of the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. We find that counties with higher concentrations of religious adherents tend to experience greater growth in land improvements on farms. In addition, we find that increases in religious diversity leads to growth in land improvement investments. Overall, the results generally support hypotheses that assert social capital, as measured by religious group concentrations, played a significant, and until recently, overlooked, role in the development of the American agricultural economy.