The Political Economy of Quality Measurement: A Case Study of the U.S. Slaughter Cattle Market
As agricultural products move from being economic commodities to quality-differentiated goods, price dispersion within specific markets increases and implicit subsidies from high quality producers to low quality producers are removed. This paper examines how these distributional effects can influence patterns of support and opposition to changes in marketing arrangements. The simple model developed is calibrated using data from the U.S. slaughter cattle market. Estimates of the economic impact on producers of measuring quality more accurately are found to be similar in size to previous estimates of market power price suppression in the market.
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