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Pass-through in United States beef cattle prices: a test of Ricardian rent theory


  • Huan Zhao
  • Xiaodong Du


  • David Hennessy


Feeder cattle are fattened to become fed live cattle 6 months later, and the feeder cattle stock is fixed in the short-run. Efficiency in competitive markets suggests feeder cattle prices should fully reflect feed prices and information on future fed cattle prices. Employing a long time series (1979–2004) of feeder cattle futures, live cattle futures, and local corn prices, we test whether complete pass-through occurs. For fed cattle futures prices, we find about 93% of complete pass-through to present feeder cattle prices. The corresponding negative effect of a corn price increase is about 87% of complete pass-through. In contrast with imperfectly competitive agricultural land rental markets, the results support the hypothesis of Ricardian rent extraction by the scarce asset owner in feeder cattle markets.
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Suggested Citation

  • Huan Zhao & Xiaodong Du & David Hennessy, 2011. "Pass-through in United States beef cattle prices: a test of Ricardian rent theory," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 497-508, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:40:y:2011:i:2:p:497-508
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-010-0339-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jose Manuel Campa & Linda S. Goldberg, 2008. "Pass-Through of Exchange Rates to Consumption Prices: What Has Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters,in: International Financial Issues in the Pacific Rim: Global Imbalances, Financial Liberalization, and Exchange Rate Policy (NBER-EASE Volume 17), pages 139-176 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David Aadland & DeeVon Bailey, 2001. "Short-Run Supply Responses in the U.S. Beef-Cattle Industry," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 826-839.
    3. Anderson, John D. & Trapp, James N., 2000. "The Dynamics of Feeder Cattle Market Responses to Corn Price Change," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(03), pages 493-505, December.
    4. Anderson, John D. & Trapp, James N., 2000. "The Dynamics Of Feeder Cattle Market Responses To Corn Price Change," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(03), December.
    5. Marcus Asplund & Richard Friberg, 2001. "The Law of One Price in Scandinavian Duty-Free Stores," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1072-1083, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Sauveur Ay & Laure Latruffe, 2013. "The empirical content of the present value model: a survey of the instrumental uses of farmland prices," Working Papers hal-01208917, HAL.
    2. Thompson, Nathanael M. & Brorsen, B. Wade & DeVuyst, Eric A. & Lusk, Jayson L., 2016. "Random Sampling of Beef Cattle for Genetic Testing: Optimal Sample Size Determination," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229195, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. No, Sung C. & Davis, Christopher G. & Harvey, David, 2015. "Pricing-to-Market and Exchange Rate Pass-Through in the U.S. Broiler Meat Export Markets," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 18(A).

    More about this item


    Cattle futures; Feeder cattle; Live cattle; D4; Q13;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness


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