Concentration and the Destruction of Competition in Agricultural Markets: The Case for Change in Public Policy
Posted: 1 Feb 2001
This essay reviews the dramatic changes in the structure of the markets in which farmers and ranchers sell their products as well as those that provide them with essential goods and services. These changes involve dramatic increases in concentration within the markets, substantially greater vertical integration, and increased concentration on a sector basis. These structural changes have in turn made feasible a number of practices that have or have the potential to have adverse competitive effect on both producers and consumers. The essay argues that antitrust has lost its appreciation of its fundamental goals and failed to take adequate account of many of the potential risks arising from the dramatic transformation of agricultural markets. The essay concludes with suggestions for reversing the trend toward concentration by more vigorous antitrust enforcement and for adopting new legislation to provide greater protection to farmers and ranchers in their dealings with powerful customers and suppliers.
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation