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Abstract

We estimate the impact of the removal of a railway transportation subsidy on the adoption of technology for Western Canadian farms, using a unique combination of Census and freight rate data. We exploit the large regional variation in these one-time freight rate increases in order to identify causal effects of increased competitive pressure. Using a difference-in differences methodology we find that higher freights rates – and hence lower farm gate prices – induced farmers to adopt new, more efficient production technology. We also find that farmers experiencing the greatest transportation cost increases also increased fertilizer usage and made significant land use changes.

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