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Impact of Third-Party Enforcement of Contracts in Agricultural Markets–A Field Experiment in Vietnam

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  • Saenger, Christoph
  • Torero, Maximo
  • Qaim, Matin

Abstract

Asymmetry of information is a fundamental problem in agricultural markets. Production contracts remain incomplete if product quality attributes measured by the buying company remain unobservable for the selling farmer. Opportunistic buyers would report lower than actual output quality, negatively affecting farmers’ compensation given it is directly linked to quality. When farmers factor in the buyer’s opportunistic behavior, underinvestment may occur, negatively affecting farm productivity. Using the example of the Vietnamese dairy industry, a field experiment is conducted in which randomly selected dairy farmers are entitled to independently verify milk testing results. Farm-level output data are complemented with household information from two rounds of comprehensive surveys conducted before and at the end of the intervention. We find a 10 percent higher use of inputs for treatment farmers, also resulting in significantly higher dairy output; welfare levels increase for a specific subgroup of farmers. As the buying company had not underreported output quality despite the existing information asymmetry, third-party enforcement enabled the company to credibly signal its fair type to farmers, leading to a Pareto improvement in the supply chain. While producers benefit directly from higher farm productivity, buying companies are better off due to lower per-unit transaction costs when procuring the farm output.

Suggested Citation

  • Saenger, Christoph & Torero, Maximo & Qaim, Matin, 2012. "Impact of Third-Party Enforcement of Contracts in Agricultural Markets–A Field Experiment in Vietnam," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124628, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea12:124628
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.124628
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:tpr:restat:v:100:y:2018:i:1:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nicholas Minot & Loraine Ronchi, 2014. "Contract Farming," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24249, The World Bank.
    3. Bernard, Tanguy & Hidrobo, Melissa & Le Port, Agnès & Rawat, Rahul, 2017. "Nutrition incentives in dairy contract farming in northern Senegal," IFPRI discussion papers 1629, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. 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.
    5. Romero, Cristina & Wollni, Meike, 2015. "Supplier dynamics in horticultural export chains – Evidence from Ecuador. Revised version," GlobalFood Discussion Papers 209961, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    6. Johan Swinnen, 2016. "Value Chain Innovations for Technology Transfer in Developing and Emerging Economies: Concept, Typology and Policy Implications," Working Papers id:10694, eSocialSciences.
    7. Qaim, Matin & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Chege, Christine G.K. & Kimenju, Simon Chege & Klasen, Stephan & Rischke, Ramona, 2014. "Nutrition Effects of the Supermarket Revolution on Urban Consumers and Smallholder Farmers in Kenya," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 177204, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Torero, Maximo & Viceisza, Angelino C.G., 2016. "Potential collusion and trust: Evidence from a field experiment in Vietnam," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(1), pages 1-11.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agribusiness; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; International Development;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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