Journal of Historical Political Economy > Vol 3 > Issue 4

The Multiplant Origins of the National Market

Robert Gulotty, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago, USA,
Suggested Citation
Robert Gulotty (2024), "The Multiplant Origins of the National Market", Journal of Historical Political Economy: Vol. 3: No. 4, pp 577-606.

Publication Date: 26 Feb 2024
© 2024 R. Gulotty
Agricultureexport subsidieswheatsectionalismGreat Depression


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In this article:
Regional Processor Interests in Wheat Subsidies 
The National Debate Over Wheat and Flour Subsidies 
The Emergence of the Multiplant Firm 
Evidence from Votes 


The interwar period initiated a new era of strategic industrial planning in the United States. This period also witnessed the emergence of multiplant firms, which, akin to contemporary dynamics of globalization, spanned economically diverse regions. Using archives, legislation, and production data, I show how horizontal integration by national flour mills led otherwise laissez-faire executives to favor government intervention and the design of the Agriculture Adjustment Act. In particular, these firms provided political support for the development of the nation's first systematic export subsidy programs, the American Wheat Loans and the North Pacific Emergency Export Association. Rather than undermine barriers to trade, integrated national firms helped give otherwise isolated regional interests a voice in national policymaking.



Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 3, Issue 4 Special Issue: The Political Economy of the Interwar Period
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.