UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Research Interest Statement

My research focuses primarily on the analysis of agricultural markets, with special emphasis on the fruit, vegetable and nut industries in California. A particular focus is the role that imperfect competition plays in agricultural markets. Although these markets are sometimes offered as textbook examples of competitive markets, the reality is quite different. Agricultural markets often exhibit high levels of concentration at multiple points in the market chain, from the farm gate to the consumer. Especially in California, these markets also often exhibit institutions and organizations of grower power, such as marketing cooperatives, bargaining associations and marketing orders. These forces interact to influence market behavior in ways that may not be well captured by a basic competitive markets model. Examples of current and recent studies, most conducted jointly with professional colleagues or UC Davis graduate students, include the following:

Several projects that examine the role of increasingly dominant grocery retailers in setting prices to consumers and farmers and the manner in which retailer behavior influences farm-sector income,

Studies that investigate the role of market power in markets in developing countries and the impacts of market power on the income of smallholders,

Examination of the role that minimum quality standards play in agricultural markets, including situations when such standards can enhance producer and societal welfare,

Studies that investigate how market power distorts incentives in agricultural markets and the manner in which market power alters the distribution of benefits from farm subsidies, trade liberalization, research investments, commodity promotion expenditures, etc.

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