IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jfpoli/v74y2018icp65-73.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Unintended consequences of the quest for increased efficiency in beef cattle: When bigger isn’t better

Author

Listed:
  • Maples, Joshua G.
  • Lusk, Jayson L.
  • Peel, Derrell S.

Abstract

Federal funding has long supported the goal of increased beef cattle efficiency. Today, the U.S. produces more beef from fewer cattle due to the ability to get more meat from each animal. Average cattle slaughter weight has increased more than 330 pounds over the past 40 years. While the benefits of this increase in efficiency are well documented, unintended adverse consequences have been less well understood. This article aims to identify and quantify one of these adverse effects. With larger cattle have come larger steaks. In response, many retailers have begun offering thinner cuts to combat high total package prices. But, do consumers prefer larger, thinner steaks or smaller, thicker steaks? Using data from a nationwide survey, this article estimates consumer willingness to pay for beef steak dimensions to draw insights into the consumer welfare changes that have resulted from increasing steak sizes. Results imply that most consumers prefer thicker to thinner cuts steaks and that smaller surface areas are preferred to larger ones. Our estimates suggest that increases in welfare due to larger carcasses, say from lower prices and more ground beef, must offset an $8.6 billion annual loss in consumer welfare resulting from changing steak size.

Suggested Citation

  • Maples, Joshua G. & Lusk, Jayson L. & Peel, Derrell S., 2018. "Unintended consequences of the quest for increased efficiency in beef cattle: When bigger isn’t better," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 65-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:65-73
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2017.11.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919216305474
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ward, Clement E. & Lusk, Jayson L. & Dutton, Jennifer M., 2008. "Implicit Value of Retail Beef Product Attributes," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-18.
    2. Scarpa, Riccardo & Rose, John M., 2008. "Design efficiency for non-market valuation with choice modelling: how to measure it, what to report and why," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Issue 3), pages 1-30.
    3. Wuyang Hu, 2004. "Trading off health, environmental and genetic modification attributes in food," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 31(3), pages 389-408, September.
    4. Parcell, Joseph L. & Schroeder, Ted C., 2007. "Hedonic Retail Beef and Pork Product Prices," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-18, April.
    5. Tomas Nilsson & Ken Foster & Jayson L. Lusk, 2006. "Marketing Opportunities for Certified Pork Chops," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(4), pages 567-583, December.
    6. Greene, William H. & Hensher, David A., 2003. "A latent class model for discrete choice analysis: contrasts with mixed logit," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 681-698, September.
    7. Small, Kenneth A & Rosen, Harvey S, 1981. "Applied Welfare Economics with Discrete Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 105-130, January.
    8. Wallace E. Huffman & Richard E. Just, 1994. "Funding, Structure, and Management of Public Agricultural Research in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(4), pages 744-759.
    9. Taylor, Mykel R. & Tonsor, Glynn T., 2013. "Revealed Demand for Country-of-Origin Labeling of Meat in the United States," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-13, August.
    10. Deacue Fields & Walt Prevatt, 2008. "An Incentive Compatible Conjoint Ranking Mechanism," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(2), pages 487-498.
    11. Krinsky, Itzhak & Robb, A Leslie, 1986. "On Approximating the Statistical Properties of Elasticities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 715-719, November.
    12. Glynn T. Tonsor & Ted C. Schroeder & Joost M. E. Pennings & James Mintert, 2009. "Consumer Valuations of Beef Steak Food Safety Enhancement in Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United States," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 57(3), pages 395-416, September.
    13. Umberger, Wendy J. & Boxall, Peter C. & Lacy, R. Curt, 2009. "Role of credence and health information in determining US consumers’ willingness-to-pay for grass-finished beef," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Issue 4), pages 1-21.
    14. Jayson L. Lusk & Jutta Roosen & John A. Fox, 2003. "Demand for Beef from Cattle Administered Growth Hormones or Fed Genetically Modified Corn: A Comparison of Consumers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 16-29.
    15. Yu Jin & Wallace E. Huffman, 2016. "Measuring public agricultural research and extension and estimating their impacts on agricultural productivity: new insights from U.S. evidence," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 15-31, January.
    16. Eldon V Ball & Sun L Wang & Richard Nehring & Roberto Mosheim, 2016. "Productivity and Economic Growth in U.S. Agriculture: A New Look," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 38(1), pages 30-49.
    17. Peter Boxall & Wiktor Adamowicz, 2002. "Understanding Heterogeneous Preferences in Random Utility Models: A Latent Class Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 23(4), pages 421-446, December.
    18. Riccardo Scarpa & Timothy J. Gilbride & Danny Campbell & David A. Hensher, 2009. "Modelling attribute non-attendance in choice experiments for rural landscape valuation," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 36(2), pages 151-174, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beef; Carcass size; Consumer preferences; Steak size;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:65-73. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.