Essays on Price Analysis of Livestock Market

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Virginia Tech


This dissertation consists of three chapters. The first chapter titled ``U.S. Grass-fed Beef Price Premiums" examined monthly retail-level price premiums for grass-fed beef (relative to conventional grain-fed beef) in the U.S. from 2014 through 2021. We found that premiums were heterogeneous, with premium cuts (such as sirloin steak, tenderloin, ribeye, and filet mignon) enjoying the highest premiums. Premiums were not consistent with price levels, as the lowest premiums were observed for short ribs, skirt steak, and flank steak. Our findings suggest that grass-fed beef price premiums were negatively affected by the consumption of food away from home. Changes in income, increased information about taste, protein and minerals, fat, revocation of the USDA grass-fed certification program in 2016 and COVID-19 pandemic, also affected premiums for several individual cuts. Premiums were not sensitive to changes in information about climate change.

The second chapter, ``Impact of Animal Disease Outbreaks on The U.S. Meat Demand'', examined the impact of the mad cow (BSE) and bird flu (AI) outbreaks on the demand for beef, pork, and broilers in the U.S from 1997 to 2019. Using time-varying elasticities obtained from a Rotterdam model with animal disease cases, we found that BSE outbreaks reduced beef consumption by 0.64 percent and increased pork consumption by 2.34 percent, on average. While BSE outbreaks reduced beef demand, these effects were short lived and did not extend beyond one quarter. On the other hand, broiler consumption decreased during the HPAI outbreaks while beef and broiler consumption increased after such outbreaks. Our time-varying cross-price elasticities indicated that substitution between beef and broilers and beef and pork strengthened after Quarter 4 of 2003.

The third chapter is titled ``Impact of North American Mad Cow Disease Outbreaks on The U.S. Cattle Futures". Our study developed a distributional event response model (DERM) framework to show the duration and magnitude of market responses of the U.S. cattle futures market during episodes of mad cow disease (BSE) in North America between 2010 and 2019. Our results indicated that the 2017 U.S. BSE outbreak reduced the returns of live cattle futures. Additionally, the average duration of the BSE event response was about 8.5 days.



Grass-fed Beef, Meat Demand, Animal Diseases, Time-varying Elasticities, Live Cattle Futures, Distributional Event Response Model