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Social Sciences History Seminar

Thursday, May 16, 2024
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Baxter B125
The Model T
Joshua Hausman, Associate Professor of Public Policy, University of Michigan,

Abstract: We ask (1) why the United States adopted the car more quickly than other countries before 1929, and (2) why in the United States the car changed from a luxury to a mass market good between 1909 and 1919. We show that the answer is in part the success of the Model T in the United States and its relative lack of success abroad. Mass production of the Model T began in 1913; by 1917, more than 40 percent of cars on the road were Model Ts. Cross-state and cross-county evidence suggest that the Model T opened up a new market for cars among farmers and in poorer areas of the country. Tariffs and difficulties producing outside Detroit made the U.S. success of the Model T difficult to replicate abroad, even in Canada.

Written with Shari Eli and Paul W. Rhode

For more information, please contact Diana Bohler by phone at 626-395-4220 or by email at [email protected].