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Chatterjee, S.

Market Power and Spatial Competition in Rural India

WP Number: 1904

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that market power of intermediaries plays an important role in contributing to low incomes of farmers in India. I study the role of spatial competition between intermediaries in determining the prices that farmers receive in India by focusing on a law that restricts farmers to selling their goods to intermediaries in their own state. I show that the discontinuities in market power generated by the law translate into discontinuities in prices. Increasing spatial competition by one standard deviation causes prices received by farmers to increase by 6.4%. To shed light on spatial and aggregate implications, I propose and estimate a quantitative spatial model of bargaining and trade. Using this structural model, I estimate that the removal of the interstate trade restriction in India would increase competition between intermediaries substantially, thereby increasing the prices farmers receive and their output. Estimates suggest that average farmer prices and output would increase by at least 11% and 7% respectively. The value of the national crop output would therefore increase by at least 18%.

JEL Codes: D43 F12 L13 L81 O13 Q13 R12

Author links:

PDF: wp1904.pdf

Open Access Link: 10.17863/CAM.38656

Theme: networks