« Back to Results

Frontiers in Food Retail Economics

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (CST)

New Orleans Marriott, Preservation Hall Studio 6
Hosted By: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
  • Chair: Sandro Steinbach, North Dakota State University

Retail Markups and Discount Store Entry

Lauren Chenarides
Arizona State University


The first paper, Retail Markups and Discount Store Entry, by Chenarides, Gomez, Richards,
and Yonezawa, studies the effect of entry of one hard-discount format on markups earned by
existing retail stores. The paper focuses on grocery markets in the Eastern U.S. to estimate storelevel
markups using the production-side approach by De Loecker and Warzynski (2012). The
research indicates that the net effect of hard-discounter entry reduces store profitability, regardless
of higher sales realized by incumbent retailers. Such insights are crucial because “hard discounters”
are retail formats that set retail food prices even lower than existing discount formats.
At the same time, they offer limited assortments and focus on store brands, implying that these
formats could significantly change the competitive food retail landscape.

Dollar Store Expansion, Food Retail Competition, and Rural Employment

Keenan Marchesi
USDA Economic Research Service


The second paper, Dollar Store Expansion, Food Retail Competition, and Rural Employment,
by Lopez, Marchesi, and Steinbach, studies retail competition in rural food markets and measures
the impact of dollar store entry on rural employment. The paper relies on food retail establishmentlevel
data from the National Establishment Time Series for 2000 to 2019 and uses difference-indifference
and event study methods to identify the response of independent retail stores to dollar
store entry. The empirical results show that dollar store entry harms independent food retailers in
rural America. This effect has increased over time, implying that dollar store entry has a delayed
and amplifying adverse impact on independent grocery stores. Such insights are highly relevant
for policymakers and researchers concerned about competition and food policies related to retail
competition in rural America and the impact of dollar store expansion.

The Impact of Dollar Store Expansion on Local Market Structure and Food Access

Matthew Osborne
University of Toronto


The third paper, The Impact of Dollar Store Expansion on Local Market Structure and Food
Access, by Hollenbeck, Caoui, and Osborne, develops an empirical framework to evaluate the
efficiency of the free entry equilibrium and the impact of entry regulation on spatial market structure.
The model features a dynamic game of entry, exit, and investment into spatially differentiated
locations, allowing for chain-level economies of density. The model is used to quantify the impact
of dollar store entry and subsequent grocery exit on consumer spending and the content and
nutritional quality of consumers’ food baskets. The research offers policy-relevant insights
3 regarding the expansion of discount food retail stores, which has been accompanied by growing
public concern over their impact on local retail markets and food accessibility in local communities.

The Effect of California Drought on Fruit and Vegetable Prices

Metin Cakir
University of Minnesota
Timothy K M Beatty
University of California-Davis
Qingyin Cai
University of Minnesota
Timothy A Park
USDA Economic Research Service


California produces more than a third of all vegetables and two-thirds of all fruits and nuts in the United States and is the largest producer of over fifty fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. Meanwhile, California agriculture faces important challenges due to sustained drought with increasing frequency and severity across the state since 2011. This article estimates the effect of the recent California drought on the retail prices of fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV) using panel data models. We build a dataset comprising detailed information on FFV prices and the drought. Specifically, we construct a monthly panel price index for fresh fruits and vegetables using retail scanner data and obtain California's county-level historical drought data from the United States Drought Monitor. In our estimation, we account for the heterogeneous effects of the drought across products and space. Our main finding is that the drought had a positive and significant effect on FFV prices. This effect is generally larger on fruits than vegetables and is robust to alternative measures of drought and model specifications. Furthermore, we find that the drought's impacts on production and imports are among the significant determinants of its overall effect on prices.
JEL Classifications
  • A1 - General Economics