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Is China's dairy processing industry oligopolistic and/or oligopsonistic?

Jiawu Dai (College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China)
Xiuqing Wang (College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China)

China Agricultural Economic Review

ISSN: 1756-137X

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




Complaints about lower agricultural farm-gate price and higher consumer price have emerged in China in recent years. The large gap between dairy farm-gate price and consumer price gives rise to worries that China's dairy industry is characterized by strong degree of oligopoly. The purpose of this paper is to take the dairy processing industry as an epitome of China's food industry, and use a new approach to investigate whether it is oligopolistic and/or oligopsonistic.


Based on a new proposed Primal-Dual Solow Residual model, the authors first test the hypothesis that there are significant oligopoly and oligopsony powers in China's dairy sector, and the latter is stronger. The authors then turn to measure these two kinds of market power using regressions of the model.


The estimation results show that firms in the sector have both strong oligopoly and oligopsony power, but the latter is stronger than the former. Meanwhile, with the continuous reinforcement of competition in China's dairy sector, market power in both the upstream and downstream has decreased slightly.


This paper is the first to simultaneously test oligopoly and oligopsony power in China's dairy sector. The empirical results explicitly imply that more attention should be paid to the raw milk purchase market.



Dai, J. and Wang, X. (2014), "Is China's dairy processing industry oligopolistic and/or oligopsonistic?", China Agricultural Economic Review, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 644-653.



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