Consolidation in U.S. Meatpacking
by James MacDonald
, Michael Ollinger
, Kenneth Nelson, and Charles Handy
Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-785) 52 pp, March 1999
Meatpacking consolidated rapidly in the last two decades: slaughter plants became much larger, and concentration increased as smaller firms left the industry. We use establishment-based data from the U.S. Census Bureau to describe consolidation and to identify the roles of scale economies and technological change in driving consolidation. Through the 1970's, larger plants paid higher wages, generating a pecuniary scale diseconomy that largely offset the cost advantages that technological scale economies offered large plants. The larger plants' wage premium disappeared in the 1980's, and technological change created larger and more extensive technological scale economies. As a result, large plants realized growing cost advantages over smaller plants, and production shifted to larger plants.
Keywords: concentration, consolidation, meatpacking, scale economies, structural change
In this publication...
- Title page, Contents, Executive Summary, 11 kb
- Introduction, 11 kb
- The Setting: Developments in Meat Consumption and Livestock Production, 22 kb
- Concentration and Consolidation in Livestock Slaughter, 26 kb
- Structural Change: Location and Plant Operations, 26 kb
- Analyzing Packer Costs: The Model, 34 kb
- Cattle Slaughter Cost Estimation, 42 kb
- Hog Slaughter Cost Estimation, 33 kb
- Conclusions, 16 kb
- References, 13 kb
- Entire Report, 175 kb
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