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Presented By: Department of Economics

Economic History: California and the Car: Early Adoption of the Automobile in the Golden State

Josh Hausman, University of Michigan

Econ Umich Econ Umich
Econ Umich
We present preliminary results on the pre-1940 diffusion of the passenger car in the U.S. and the world. The U.S. adopted the car much faster than other countries with roughly twice as many motor vehicles per capita as Canada. Within the U.S., car adoption was most rapid in California. In 1930, there were more cars in Los Angeles county than in Germany and Italy combined. Income and population density only partly explain California's lead. We are collecting individual-level data on car ownership in California starting in 1905 in order to understand who bought cars first and to investigate hypotheses for California's unusually rapid car adoption.

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Econ Umich Econ Umich
Econ Umich

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April 27, 2021 (Tuesday) 2:30pm
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