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An Analysis of the Pricing of Traits in the U.S. Corn Seed Market


  • Shi, Guanming

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Chavas, Jean-Paul

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Steigert, Kyle

    (University of Wisconsin)


This paper investigates the pricing of patented traits in the U.S. hybrid corn seed market under imperfect competition. In a multiproduct context, we first examine how substitution/complementarity relationships among products can affect pricing. This is used to motivate multi-product generalizations of the Herfindahl-Hirschman index (GHHI) capturing cross-market effects of imperfect competition on bundle pricing. The GHHI model is applied to pricing of conventional and patented biotech seeds in the US from 2000-2007. One major finding is that standard component pricing in biotech traits is soundly rejected in favor of subadditive bundle pricing. The econometric estimates show how changes in market structures (as measured by both own- and cross-Herfindahl indexes) affect U.S. corn seed prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Shi, Guanming & Chavas, Jean-Paul & Steigert, Kyle, 2009. "An Analysis of the Pricing of Traits in the U.S. Corn Seed Market," Staff Paper Series 544, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:wisagr:544

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2007. "Cementing Relationships: Vertical Integration, Foreclosure, Productivity, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 250-301.
    2. Catherine C. de Fontenay & Joshua S. Gans, 2005. "Vertical Integration in the Presence of Upstream Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 544-572, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ma, Xingliang & Shi, Guanming, 2010. "GM vs. Non-GM: A Survival Analysis of Hybrid Seed Corn in the US," Staff Paper Series 553, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    2. Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge & Valle, Karen, 2014. "A Hedonic Model of Corn Seed Prices," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169667, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Ma, Xingliang & Shi, Guanming, 2013. "GM vs. Non-GM: A Survival Analysis of U.S. Hybrid Seed Corn," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(3), December.
    4. Shakya, Sumadhur & Wilson, William W. & Dahl, Bruce L., 2012. "Valuing New Random GM Traits: The Case of Drought Tolerant Wheat," Agribusiness & Applied Economics Report 128033, North Dakota State University, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.
    5. Ilin, Cornelia & Shi, Guanming, 2016. "Competition, Price Dispersion and Capacity Constraints: The Case of the U.S. Corn Seed Industry," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236532, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Shakya, Sumadhur & Wilson, William W. & Dahl, Bruce L., 2013. "Valuing New Random Genetically Modified (GM) Traits in Corn," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 38(1), April.
    7. repec:nbr:nberch:13940 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:bpj:bjafio:v:15:y:2017:i:1:p:15:n:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge & Livingston, Michael J. & Mitchell, Lorraine & Wechsler, Seth, 2014. "Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States," Economic Research Report 164263, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    10. Zhang, Wenhui & Shi, Guanming, 2012. "An Exploration of Product Choices in U.S. Biotech Corn Seed Market," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124758, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Nolan, Elizabeth & Santos, Paulo & Shi, Guanming, 2012. "Market concentration and productivity in the United States corn sector: 2002-2009," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 125941, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Jayson L. Lusk & Jesse Tack & Nathan P. Hendricks, 2017. "Heterogeneous Yield Impacts from Adoption of Genetically Engineered Corn and the Importance of Controlling for Weather," NBER Chapters,in: Understanding Productivity Growth in Agriculture National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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