Purdue University Graduate School
Dissertation of M Ortez.pdf (2.04 MB)


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posted on 2022-07-26, 03:52 authored by Mario Amado Ortez AmadorMario Amado Ortez Amador


Cattle derived food, like beef and dairy, have long been a staple of our human diets and continue to be prominent in our days. This prominence and their relevance naturally extend to our economies. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (2022), cattle production is the most important agricultural industry in the US representing about 17% of the $391 billion total cash receipts for agricultural commodities in 2021.

Economists have looked into cattle derived products from a wide array of perspectives focusing on the product itself, for example beef, but also in the forces of supply and demand that at times are external to product attributes. The effect of supply and demand shocks on agricultural markets have been heavily considered in the literature (Thomsen and McKenzie, 2001; McKenzie and Thomsen, 2001; Lusk and Schroeder, 2002, Piggott and Marsh, 2004). Yet another important aspect of agricultural markets is price determination and the body of literature in this area is ample (Tomek & Robinson, 2003). Recent phenomena in the world, like the availability of information, good or bad, in the most current, voluminous and accessible way that we have ever seen, could be a new force in price determination of agricultural products. My research contributes to such strains of literature by investigating perceptions and willingness to pay for beef attributes, market shocks in beef markets, and the role of online media in dairy prices.

Beef attributes, and their relative valuation by consumers, have been studied to assist in understanding consumer demand for beef. Given the relevance of such attributes in consumer’s mind, researchers have sought to study how to profitably provide those beef attributes demanded by consumers. Addressing consumer demands for tenderness, an important attribute (Schroeder and Mark, 2000), aging beef has been proved to be a technology that improves flavor, tenderness and juiciness (Kim, Kemp & Samuelson, 2016). By using aging processes, the same cattle carcass can generate more highly valued beef products. I study the willingness to pay for aging and USDA grade in beef, to understand valuation of attributes by consumers with various demographics. 

In beef markets, the heterogeneity of beef cuts in their usage, pricing and distribution channels is crucial. Supply and demand shocks can affect individual cuts in different ways (Ortez et al, 2022). With some beef cuts relying heavily on restaurant sales more than others, this offers a good opportunity to introduce a new concept in beef market analysis, namely the price relationship amongst beef cuts and its response to different market shocks. The traditional discussion around spreads in meat focus on differences in price at separate steps in the supply chain, namely farm, wholesale and retail. However, little attention has been given to the relative differences in prices of specific cuts of beef.

The potential influence of online media chatter in its sentiment and volume has largely been under appreciated in the Agricultural Economics literature. A predecessor in this area is Tonsor and Olynk (2011) who first established a connection between news activity and economic fundamentals in agriculture. The advent of the internet may have the ability to decrease information asymmetry and bridge the information gap between consumers, producers and market products. Online media listening allows for data collection efficiently and in real time (Widmar, 2019) and it may be a relevant aspect in the decision making of agricultural and food industries. Moved by this endeavor, I seek to understand if potential relationships between online media chatter sentiment and volume with futures prices in dairy products exist.



Value-added beef from low quality beef: Optimized dry-aging to improve palatability attributes and profitability of cull cow beef

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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Changing Preferences for Meat Proteins by US Residents (USDA's NIFA Hatch project IND00044133)


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Agricultural Economics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Nicole J. Olynk Widmar

Additional Committee Member 2

Nathanael Thompson

Additional Committee Member 3

Mindy Mallory

Additional Committee Member 4

Tor Tolhurst

Additional Committee Member 5

Courtney Bir

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