AAEC’s Devadoss tallies national impact of U.S food industry mergers
By: Norman Martin
Stephen Devadoss, the Emabeth Thompson Endowed Professor within Texas Tech University's Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, is the Project Director of a new $653,000 project focusing on assessing the effects of ever-increasing mergers on market structure, conduct and performance within the U.S. food industry.
Support for the “Implications of Mergers and Concentrations for Food Industries” project is provided by the USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA), a federal agency centered on supporting initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. Other members of the project director team include Associate Professor Jeff Luckstead and Assistant Professor Wesley Blundell from Washington State University's School of Economic Sciences.
“The Federal Trade Commission is keen about collecting inputs from various stakeholders - including academic economists - on pros and cons of merger activities,” Devadoss said. “Particularly, the FTC is very concerned about illegal mergers that harms outsider firms in the industry, consumers, input suppliers, and national welfare.”
By analyzing agri-food industry mergers, the research team hopes to generate results valuable to the commission. Specifically, they will quantify the impacts of mergers on market concentration, upstream primary commodity producers, food prices, consumption, trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), and welfare.
In addition, they will estimate the adverse impacts of firm shutdowns and food recalls when there are only a few firms operating in a particular agri-food industry, which will help the government avoid the dependence on few firms in the market. Among the expected outcomes will be promoting growth in the U.S. agricultural sector and food industry and enhance welfare for both U.S. producers and consumers.
Graduate student support and research is an integral part of the project, Devadoss added. Specifically, theoretical models and empirical methods utilized in the project will be integrated into course materials, keeping the graduate industrial organization and trade courses at the cutting edge of current models and methods.
Devadoss has long history of academic success, including five large NIFA grants worth about $2.8 million in the recent years, receiving the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2019), Fellow of Western Agricultural Economics Association (2010), Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Outstanding Graduate (2011) and Undergraduate (2012) Teacher Awards, and AAEA Graduate Mentoring Award (2022). Devadoss was elected as the President of the Western Agricultural Economics Association (2021). His doctorate in economics is from Iowa State University-Ames.
CONTACT: Phillip Johnson, chairman & director of the university's Thornton Agricultural Finance Institute, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-0474 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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