Freedom and Choice? Legitimising Concentration in Deregulated Agricultural Markets

  • Patrick O’Keeffe


In this chapter, I analyse the development of the wheat export market following deregulation. My research shows that the industry has become increasingly characterised by regional monopolies and oligopolies. Firms have used mergers and acquisitions to develop and protect their positions in regional markets in particular. This has undermined growers’ power in local markets, and not delivered the freedom, empowerment, and choice promised by policy makers. In particular, I analyse policy makers’ use of contestability theory as a foundation for interpreting the development of competition in the Australian wheat export market. I argue this theory is limited and is incorrectly applied in the case of the Australian wheat export market. Using a generalised conception of this theory, policy makers have assumed that removing regulatory restrictions on market entry is sufficient to create contestable markets. As my research suggests, this assumption is misplaced in relation to the Australian wheat export market.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick O’Keeffe
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Global, Urban & Social StudiesRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

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