Imperfect Competition and Strategic Trade Theory: Evidence for International Food and Agricultural Markets

Jeffrey J Reimer 1  and Kyle Stiegert 2
  • 1 Oregon State University
  • 2 University of Wisconsin-Madison

Strategic trade theory offers a way of conceptualizing and testing for strategic government interventions in imperfectly competitive international markets. This survey critically assesses recent empirical evidence, with a focus on food and agricultural markets. One finding is that while many international markets are characterized by oligopoly, price-cost markups tend to be small, and the potential gains from intervention are modest at best. In turn, empirical work has turned up few examples in which government intervention has been optimal in a strategic trade sense. Nonetheless, governments are found to frequently intervene on behalf of domestic firms and play a major role in shaping the nature of international competition. Suggestions for future research are made.

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