Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Vertical Integration and Concentration in US Agriculture

  • Mary Hendrickson
  • Harvey James
  • William D. Heffernan
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_216-1

Synonyms

Introduction

Vertical integration is the process whereby one firm merges with another firm from which it buys inputs or to which it sells output. Concentration reflects the degree of horizontal integration and defines the extent to which a firm has competitors. The food system in the USA has become increasingly integrated and concentrated during the last 100 years. Economists have long argued that economic factors – most notably economic efficiency – largely explain the increase in vertical integration and concentration in the agrifood industry (MacDonald et al. 2004), but others implicate the exercise of market power and changes in antitrust policy enforcement as explanations (Carstensen 2008; Hendrickson and Heffernan 2002). Concentration and integration (hereafter simply “consolidation”) in the food system raises a number of important ethical issues for farmers, agribusiness firms, and consumers. These ethical issues are...

Keywords

Large Firm Food System Vertical Integration Food Sector Industry Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Hendrickson
    • 1
  • Harvey James
    • 1
  • William D. Heffernan
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Applied Social SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA