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Can/Should/Will A Niche Become the Norm? Organic Agriculture's Short Past and Long Future

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  • Steven C. Blank
  • Gary D. Thompson

Abstract

A theory is proposed that explains the evolution of a market based on a quality variant as it goes from being a niche to the market norm. Organic commodities are described as such a quality variant and used to focus on the economic and policy issues that arise during a market's evolution. It is shown how organic products in general can become the norm in many American commodity markets. However, there is disagreement over whether it should and much uncertainty about whether it will. The current status of two organic markets is discussed to illustrate empirical issues. (JEL "Q130, Q110", "Q100") Copyright 2004 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven C. Blank & Gary D. Thompson, 2004. "Can/Should/Will A Niche Become the Norm? Organic Agriculture's Short Past and Long Future," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(4), pages 483-503, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:22:y:2004:i:4:p:483-503
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alfons Oude Lansink & Ky–sti Pietola, 2002. "Effciency and productivity of conventional and organic farms in Finland 1994--1997," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 51-66, March.
    2. Riccardo Leoncini, 2001. "Segmentation and Increasing Returns in the Evolutionary Dynamics of Competing Techniques," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 217-237, May.
    3. Gary D. Thompson & Julia Kidwell, 1998. "Explaining the Choice of Organic Produce: Cosmetic Defects, Prices, and Consumer Preferences," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(2), pages 277-287.
    4. Boland, Michael & Schroeder, Ted, 2002. "Marginal Value of Quality Attributes for Natural and Organic Beef," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(01), pages 39-49, April.
    5. Glaser, Lewrene K. & Thompson, Gary D., 1999. "Demand For Organic And Conventional Frozen Vegetables," 1999 Annual meeting, August 8-11, Nashville, TN 21583, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    6. Thompson, Gary D. & Glaser, Lewrene K., 2001. "National Demand For Organic And Conventional Baby Food," 2001 Annual Meeting, July 8-11, 2001, Logan, Utah 36139, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    7. Dimitri, Carolyn & Greene, Catherine R., 2002. "Recent Growth Patterns In The U.S. Organic Foods Market," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33715, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    8. Gary D. Thompson, 1998. "Consumer Demand for Organic Foods: What We Know and What We Need to Know," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1113-1118.
    9. McCluskey, Jill J., 2000. "A Game Theoretic Approach to Organic Foods: An Analysis of Asymmetric Information and Policy," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(01), pages 1-9, April.
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    12. Sigrid Stagl, 2002. "Local Organic Food Markets: Potentials and Limitations for Contributing to Sustainable Development," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 145-162, June.
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    15. Luanne Lohr, 1998. "Implications of Organic Certification for Market Structure and Trade," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1125-1129.
    16. Locay, Luis & Rodriguez, Alvaro, 1992. "Price Discrimination in Competitive Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 954-965, October.
    17. Vickner, Steven S. & Davies, Stephen P., 1999. "Estimating Market Power And Pricing Conduct In A Product-Differentiated Oligopoly: The Case Of The Domestic Spaghetti Sauce Industry," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 31(01), April.
    18. Loureiro, Maria L. & McCluskey, Jill J. & Mittelhammer, Ronald C., 2001. "Assessing Consumer Preferences For Organic, Eco-Labeled, And Regular Apples," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26(02), December.
    19. David Goodman, 2000. "Organic and conventional agriculture: Materializing discourse and agro-ecological managerialism," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 17(3), pages 215-219, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Blank, Steven C., 2010. "Economic Sustainability in the Evolving World: Implications for American Agriculture and Economists," Western Economics Forum, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 9(01).

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