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Abstract

Strategic investments in agriculture often are lumpy and irreversible, with significant impacts on operating and fixed costs. Leveling cotton fields to zero slope in central Arizona is a strategic decision made by relatively younger farmers who are farming fine-textured soils in irrigation districts with higher expected water costs. The diffusion of the technology across the region between 1968-89 appears to be both a function of institutional changes (e.g., the Groundwater Management Act of 1980, the Central Arizona Project) and the long-run expected price changes induced by these new policies.

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