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The E-Commerce Effect on Agriculture and Food

AAEA members analyze online shopping impact at ASSA Annual Meeting

Shopping online has changed the retail world in the United States and globally. The National Retail Federation estimates e-commerce sales will be around $430 Billion in 2017.

Over the last decade, Amazon has changed the e-commerce game, pulling in more than half of all online purchases on Black Friday this year, and the company’s recent takeover of Whole Foods is expected to provide a huge bump in online grocery sales.

“In the ‘old days’ you had to go to several stores to shop for the best prices,” says Liang Lu of the University of Idaho, “now shopping and purchasing are often separate things. When we look at the online platforms, what are the benefits to the consumer and the producer? It’s time to discuss it.”

Lu is part of an AAEA session breaking down the worldwide impact at the 2018 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 5-7, 2018, in Philadelphia. The session, entitled “E-Commerce and the Agrifood Supply Chain” includes the following topics and authors:

  • “E-Marketing and Supply Chains”: Lu and Thomas Reardon, Michigan State University
  • “Collective Reputation in Online Platforms and Private Quality Standards”: Jill McCluskey, Washington State University
  • “Food Waste and the Sharing Economy”: Timothy Richards, Arizona State University
  • “Formation and Evolution of Rural E-commerce Villages in China: Theory and Empirical Evidences”: Yiwu Zeng, Zhejiang University

This session is being held Friday, January 5, 2018, at 10:15 am at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel (1200 Market Street). If you are interested in attending the session or setting up an interview, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

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