The Achilles Heel of the U.S. Food Industries: Exposure to Labor and Upstream Industries in the Supply Chain

43 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021

Date Written: November 5, 2021

Abstract

The modern day food industries are part of a complex agri-food supply chain, where food production has become efficient, yet potentially vulnerable to supply chain risks. The COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to that end. This article measures and identifies the U.S. food manufacturing industries' vulnerability to upstream industries and labor occupations by (i) calculating a food industry's diversification of intermediate input purchases across upstream industries, (ii) quantifying the relative exposure of food manufacturing in a given industry and location to upstream input suppliers and labor occupations, and (iii) estimating each food industry's gross output elasticity of inputs. Among our results, we find the evidence that the animal processing industry's output is relatively vulnerable to production labor which is consistent with the observed disruptions to the meat packing sector during COVID19, which were largely caused by labor issues. Our results may help academics and practitioners to understand food industries' vulnerabilities to upstream industries and labor occupations.

Keywords: food industry, food supply chain, labor, vulnerability analysis

JEL Classification: D57, L66, Q1, R11

Suggested Citation

Wahdat, Ahmad Zia and Lusk, Jayson, The Achilles Heel of the U.S. Food Industries: Exposure to Labor and Upstream Industries in the Supply Chain (November 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3957604 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3957604

Ahmad Zia Wahdat (Contact Author)

Purdue University ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1145
United States

Jayson Lusk

Purdue University ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

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