Assessing Fairness and Expectations in Agricultural Markets

Harvey James receives USDA NIFA grant to enhance the understanding of fairness in agricultural food markets.

Harvey James, professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, recently received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). James was awarded $446,453 for his project titled “Assessing Fairness and Expectations in Agricultural Markets.”

The grant was part of a recent $14.5 million USDA investment into two key programs (Economics, Markets and Trade, and Environmental and Natural Resource Economics) through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. James was one of 18 recipients in the Economics, Markets and Trade category.

The goal of this project is to enhance the understanding of fairness in agricultural food markets and the impact of perceptions of fairness may have on resources and the efficiency operations of agricultural markets.

“A fair marketplace is necessary because misallocations of resources can occur if market participants alter their production and marketing behavior due to concerns about fairness, especially if these perceptions are invalid,” said James.

With the outlined objectives, James seeks to develop and evaluate a mechanism for assessing claims of unfairness as well as to link fairness concerns to the distribution of resources. Outcomes of this project support the program priorities of agricultural market structure and performance, production and resource use and agricultural policy design. By getting a better understanding of unfairness claims by market participants, it can provide insight into improving supply chain management, managing contract disputes and to develop new anti-trust approaches.