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Who will pay for improved health standards in U.S. meat-processing plants? Simulation results from the USAGE model

Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer

Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers from Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre

Abstract: It is possible that Covid will produce permanent changes in work practices that increase costs in U.S. meat-processing plants. These changes may be beneficial for the safety of meat-processing workers and the health of the community more generally. However, they will have economic costs. In this paper we use USAGE-Food, a detailed computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the U.S., to work out how those costs would be distributed between farmers and consumers of meat products. We also calculate industry and macroeconomic effects. Despite modelling the farmers as owning fixed factors, principally their own labour, we find that the farmer share in extra processing costs is likely to be quite moderate. Throughout the paper, we support simulation results by back-of-the-envelope calculations, diagrams and sensitivity analysis. These devices identify the mechanisms in the model and key data points that are responsible for the main results. In this way, we avoid the black-box criticism that is sometimes levelled at CGE modelling.

Keywords: split; of; meat-processing; costs; between; farmers; and; consumers; computable; general; equilibrium; simulations; back-of-the-envelope; explanations; diagrammatic; analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D58 Q12 Q13 Q17 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cmp and nep-ore
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