Who benefits from the high-price segment in commodity markets?

Stefan Mann (Department of Socioeconomics, Agroscope, Aadorf, Switzerland)
Christian Ritzel (Department of Socioeconomics, Agroscope, Aadorf, Switzerland)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 4 December 2017



Vegetable oils are usually considered commodities. The purpose of this paper is to use disaggregated import data from Switzerland to show two phenomena. The first is that a growing high-price segment exists in these markets; the second is that least developed countries (LDC) are usually excluded from the benefits of this niche.


A detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis for coconut oil is carried out, using fixed effects regressions for the quantitative part and objective hermeneutics for the qualitative part.


The analysis indicates that prices depend on the quantity imported and on the country of origin and that entrepreneurs outside the LDC attempt to create new niche markets, whereas actors in the bulk markets tend to ignore these niches and to continue relying on LDC.

Social implications

Bulk markets may continue to exist, but the importance of niches is certainly increasing and should be extended to LDC.


It could be shown which market dynamics exist and which of them leave LDC behind.



Mann, S. and Ritzel, C. (2017), "Who benefits from the high-price segment in commodity markets?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 12, pp. 2313-2324. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-07-2016-0201

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