Lavoie, Nathalie

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Associate Professor, Department of Resource Economics
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Industrial Organization
My interests revolve around product differentiation and trade. These two areas are fascinating in the context of consumers' increasing demand for high-quality food products and the opening of trade occurring under the WTO agreement. My research agenda involves examining various aspects of two important trends in agri-food industries as they relate to market structure and performance: 1) the increase in concentration at various stages of the food industry, 2) the growing consumer demand for quality, taste, appearance, and ethical values of food products. The demand for more differentiated products has interesting economic ramifications because product differentiation is one source of firms’ market power. In other words, as products become more differentiated, firms obtain the ability to capture economic profit at the expense of consumers. Examples of my work include the examination of price discrimination when goods are differentiated by quality, the impact of trade reforms on the quality of products traded, and the examination of market power in the U.S. butter and margarine industry using brand level scanner data.

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