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Railroads and Land Grant Policy

A Study in Government Intervention

1st Edition - January 28, 1982

Author: Lloyd J. Mercer

eBook ISBN:
9 7 8 - 1 - 4 8 3 2 - 5 7 9 9 - 0

Railroads and Land Grant Policy: A Study in Government Intervention attempts to replace a major part of the railroad land grant legend (according to which the granting of federal… Read more

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Railroads and Land Grant Policy: A Study in Government Intervention attempts to replace a major part of the railroad land grant legend (according to which the granting of federal and state land to private railroad firms benefitted these firms more than it contributed to society as a whole) with some real numbers and analysis. An attempt is made to put the income and wealth distribution impact of the railroad land grants in perspective, but thorough analysis of this issue is not undertaken. The primary question this study does try to illuminate is that of the effect of the railroad land grants on economic efficiency. This emphasis was chosen because it seems clear that improvement of economic efficiency was the major goal that Congress and various state legislatures sought to attain, and thus the examination of economic efficiency questions is fundamental to evaluation of railroad land grant policy. This study will not completely replace the railroad land grant legend (because much is not covered here), but it does represent a considerable diminution of that legend.