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Asymmetric Information and Middleman Margins: An Experiment with Indian Potato Farmers

Author

Listed:
  • Sandip Mitra

    (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata)

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    (Boston University)

  • Maximo Torero

    (World Bank)

  • Sujata Visaria

    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

West Bengal potato farmers cannot directly access wholesale markets and do not knowwholesale prices. Local middlemen earn large margins; pass-through from wholesale to farmgate prices is negligible. When we informed farmers in randomly chosen villages about wholesale prices, average farmgate sales and prices were unaffected, but pass-through to farmgate prices increased. These results can be explained by a model where farmers bargain ex post with village middlemen, with the outside option of selling to middlemen outside the village. They are inconsistent with standard oligopolistic models of pass-through, search frictions, or risk-sharing contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Maximo Torero & Sujata Visaria, 2018. "Asymmetric Information and Middleman Margins: An Experiment with Indian Potato Farmers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-13, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:100:y:2018:i:1:p:1-13
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00699
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aparajita Goyal, 2010. "Information, Direct Access to Farmers, and Rural Market Performance in Central India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 22-45, July.
    2. Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Sandip & Mookherjee, Dilip & Motta, Alberto & Visaria, Sujata, 2017. "Financing smallholder agriculture: An experiment with agent-intermediated microloans in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 306-337.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hyejin Ku, 2018. "The Effect of Wage Subsidies on Piece Rate Workers: Evidence from the Penny Per Pound Program in Florida," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1815, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Sujata Visaria, 2020. "Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries," NBER Working Papers 26730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Emran, M.Shahe & Mookherjee, Dilip & Shilpi, Forhad & Uddin, M. Helal, 2017. "Credit Rationing and Pass-Through in Supply Chains: Theory and Evidence from Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 79844, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Macchiavello, Rocco & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2017. "Vertical Integration and Relational Contracts: Evidence from the Costa Rica Coffee Chain," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 321, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. repec:cpr:ceprdp:14272 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Sandip & Mookherjee, Dilip & Motta, Alberto & Visaria, Sujata, 2017. "Financing smallholder agriculture: An experiment with agent-intermediated microloans in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 306-337.
    7. Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Sandip & Mookherjee, Dilip & Visaria, Sujata, 2020. "Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-94, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Hailemariam Ayalew & Dagim G. Belay, 2020. "The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and Spatial Price Dispersion: Disentangling Warehouse and Price Information effects," IFRO Working Paper 2020/01, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    9. Gashaw Tadesse Abate & Tanguy Bernard & Alan de Brauw & Nicholas Minot, 2018. "The impact of the use of new technologies on farmers’ wheat yield in Ethiopia: evidence from a randomized control trial," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 49(4), pages 409-421, July.
    10. Wouter Zant, 2018. "Mobile Phones and Mozambique Farmers: Less Asymmetric Information and More Trader Competition?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-055/V, Tinbergen Institute, revised 27 Oct 2019.
    11. Pierluigi Montalbano & Rebecca Pietrelli & Luca Salvatici, 2017. "Market chain participation and food security: the case of the Ugandan maize farmers," Working Papers 2/17, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    12. Camacho, Adriana & Conover, Emily, 2019. "The impact of receiving SMS price and weather information on small scale farmers in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.
    13. Uwe Deichmann & Aparajita Goyal & Deepak Mishra, 2016. "Will digital technologies transform agriculture in developing countries?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(S1), pages 21-33, November.
    14. Kotowski, Maciej H. & Leister, C. Matthew, 2018. "Trading Networks and Equilibrium Intermediation," Working Paper Series rwp18-001, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    15. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Sujata Visaria, 2020. "Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2020-70, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Jan 2020.
    16. Ku, Hyejin, 2019. "The effect of wage subsidies on piece rate workers: Evidence from the Penny Per Pound program in Florida," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 122-134.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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