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Department of Resource Economics

Advertising, Price Competition, and Entry in Concentrated Industries

The food industry is being transformed by two important changes. It has recently been characterized by rising concentration, partly due to a number of large mergers since the beginning of the new millennium.[1] In addition, the advent of the internet is affecting the source of advertising and the method of purchase for many food products. Firms in the industry must devise strategies to adapt to and capitalize on these changes that have the potential to affect market structure and performance.

Private and Public Strategies to Promote Consumer Health: Impacts on Welfare and the Food Supply Chain

The food industry is under transformation due to some important changes in consumer preferences. With a trend towards a healthier lifestyle, food quality, nutrition, and safety are increasingly important to consumers today. There is an increasing demand for more information about the nutritional content of food, for food considered healthy and health-enhancing. However, at the same time, obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise and so do health care costs as a result.

Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle: Value Chain Design, Policy Approaches, Environmental and Social Impacts

We will develop a mathematical model that predicts how farmers (or firms) will make decisions when choosing between two markets. The markets we will study include a wholesale market, where farmer's products are no different from all other farmers, and a farm-to-school market where the farmer's products are differentiated (the farmer is known and the products are known to be locally produced). We will then design economic experiments that could be used to test the model's theoretical results.

Understanding the Choice Between Leasing and Owning for Residential Solar Systems

Each potential adopter faces a crucial decision--to lease or to own the panels. Leasing the panels from a solar company incurs little to no upfront cost. A fixed lease payment, however, reduces the net saving from the electricity generated by the panels. On the other hand, owning solar panels includes a high immediate cost with a higher return in future periods resulting from the absence of lease payments. Moreover, solar owners can receive additional revenue from selling Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC).

Interactions of Individual, Family, Community, and Policy Contexts on the Mental and Physical Health of Diverse Rural Low-Income Families

The goal of this project is to understand the many complexities of physical and mental health faced by rural low-income families within the context of their communities. Poverty is disproportionately higher and more persistent in rural areas than in urban areas and problems of unemployment, underemployment, lower wages, and poor health make it more difficult for the rural poor to escape poverty.

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