Market structure analysis as an orientation for research in agricultural economics

In research projects involving market structure analysis big business are many times reluctant to cooperate because of the critical attitude of the researchers.

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Perhaps this critical attitude is inherent in the researcher’s thinking in light of his training as to what constitutes an "ideal" market structure. On the other hand I am aware of the fact that the findings of reasonably objective researchers are lifted out of context to support political and legislative action.

In research with a market structure orientation is to receive the support of big business more of the researchers, in my opinion, must emphasize the positive results, to the extent they exist, of the changing structure. By this I do not mean that researchers gloss over the undesirable results, the malfunctions and the inefficiencies. I do think they should make a conscious effort to present the total picture. I am sure that most agricultural economists interested in market structure research in agriculture have studied rather carefully the paper by Clodius and Mueller on this subject which was printed in the Journal of Farm Economics.

This is an excellent article which among other things outlines the limitations and problems in using market structure framework as an orientation to research. His approach was used in a number of AID sponsored studies of marketing organization in developing countries. They are listed in the paper by Barbara Harriss (Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford). She questions their conclusions.

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