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Agricultural Production Clubs: Viability and Welfare Implications

  • Langinier, Corinne
  • Babcock, Bruce A.

Consumers are in general less informed than producers about the quality of agricultural goods. To reduce he information gap, consumers can rely on standards (e.g., certification) that ensure quality and origin of the goods. These costly standards can be adopted by a group of producers of high-quality goods. We study the formation of such a group that we model as a club. We first investigate under what circumstances a club of a given size is desirable for producers, and for society. We then analyze the optimal size of the club when there exists a direct barrier to entry, and when there is no barrier. We find that for intermediate values of certification costs, the industry and a club of a given size of certified producers have divergent incentives. Furthermore, if barriers to entry are allowed, an optimal size of club exists, which allows some revelation of information. In the absence of barrier to entry, it is less likely that a club will emerge.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12670.

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Date of creation: 28 Aug 2006
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization 2008, vol. 6 no. 2
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12670
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  2. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-83, February.
  4. Stéphan Marette & John Crespi, 2003. "Can Quality Certification Lead to Stable Cartels?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 43-64, August.
  5. Bergès-Sennou Fabian & Bontems Philippe & Réquillart Vincent, 2004. "Economics of Private Labels: A Survey of Literature," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, February.
  6. Hayes, Dermot J. & Lence, Sergio H. & Babcock, Bruce A., 2005. "Geographic Indications and Farmer-Owned Brands: Why Do the U.S. And E.U. Disagree?," Staff General Research Papers 12418, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. John M. Crespi & St)phan Marette, 2001. "How Should Food Safety Certification be Financed?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 852-861.
  8. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-29, March-Apr.
  9. Stéphan Marette, 2005. "The Collective-Quality Promotion in the Agribusiness Sector: An Overview," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 05-wp406, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  10. Kyle Bagwell & Michael Riordan, 1988. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," Discussion Papers 808, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
  12. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Price competition, quality and income disparities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -370, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  14. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Schilizzi, Steven, 2003. "Quality Signaling through Certification. Theory and an Application to Agricultural Seed Market," IDEI Working Papers 165, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  15. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
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