Technological innovation in agriculture was substantial during the 20th century. Is “modern” technological control of the environment replacing a “primitive” dependency on natural advantages and disadvantages, or has agricultural production remained persistently
dependent on the environment? This paper estimates how the 20th century modernization of United States Plains' agriculture changed the impact of environmental characteristics on agricultural land values. Despite substantial technological innovation and rising land values from 1945 to 2002,
counties' environmental characteristics largely maintained influence on land values. Environmental change has become no less costly, as technological innovation has not reduced the importance of natural advantages or disadvantages.
The American Economic Review is a general-interest economics journal. The journal is published quarterly and contains articles on a broad range of topics. Established in 1911, the AER is among the nation's oldest and most respected scholarly journals in the economics profession.