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Volume 4, Issue 4, September 2022

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Research Articles

Who Fills the Seats? Offering Extra Credit and Instructor Perceptions of Who Will Attend

Joshua J. Lewer, Colin Corbett, Tanya M. Marcum, and Jannett Highfill

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Posted online: September 21, 2022
doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.324804

Abstract: Past research on the effectiveness and fairness of offering extra credit opportunities to students has been mixed. This paper contributes to this ongoing literature in two ways. First, we develop a student effort model that investigates how student utility, study time, productivity, and knowledge change when faculty offer extra credit opportunities. Second, we employ a survey of 251 college instructors from across the United States to examine instructor perceptions of which students attend extra credit events and at what point in the semester students are more likely to attend.

Keywords: Decision-making, extra credit, perceptions, student effort model

Teaching and Educational Methods

Teaching Forward Contracts in Undergraduate Courses in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics Programs

Yuliya V. Bolotova

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Posted online: June 27, 2022
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doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.324805

Abstract: This article presents teaching materials for teaching forward contracts in undergraduate courses in agribusiness and agricultural economics programs, as well as educational materials for Extension and outreach activities. The teaching materials include: (a) an introduction to spot and forward contracts as market exchange mechanisms and an explanation of the main differences between these two types of contracts; (b) a discussion of the business rationale for using forward contracts, as compared to spot contracts; (c) a simple economic framework explaining the mechanics of forward contracts; and (d) analytical problem sets demonstrating applications of this framework in the U.S. beef, pork, and milk supply chains. The teaching note includes analytical problem sets, multiple choices questions, and answer keys for all questions.

Keywords: Cattle, dairy, hogs, market coordination, risk management

Coordinating Environmental and Trade Policy to Protect the Environment: A Pedagogical Approach

Patrik T. Hultberg and Darshana Udayanganie

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Posted online: April 26, 2022
doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.324806

Abstract: Establishing appropriate environmental and trade policies is an important issue in today’s globalized economy, and yet there is no comprehensive analysis in most environmental economics and international trade undergraduate textbooks of how such policies are interrelated. The purpose of this article is to provide a straightforward framework for teaching students how environmental and trade policies are indeed interconnected, utilizing the standard tools of intermediate microeconomics. Focusing on a single competitive market and (nonstrategic) welfare maximizing government, optimal environmental and trade policies are derived and explored. The framework is used to address several circumstances, including negative production and consumption externalities, small and large countries, and transboundary pollution.

Keywords: Environment, international trade, teaching of economics

Case Studies

Price-Fixing in the U.S. Broiler Chicken and Pork Industries

Yuliya V. Bolotova

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Posted online: May 26, 2022
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doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.324808

Abstract: The motivations for this case study are recent developments in the U.S. broiler chicken and pork industries involving implementation of agricultural supply control practices by the largest broiler and pork processors in the United States. Buyers of broilers and pork filed antitrust lawsuits alleging that by implementing these supply control practices broiler and pork processors engaged in unlawful price-fixing conspiracies. The case study introduces economic, business, and legal issues related to implementation of supply control practices in the U.S. broiler chicken and pork industries. The case study presents economic models that help explain the conduct and performance of these industries in the analyzed setting, and it includes a basic market and price analysis. The intended audiences are undergraduate and graduate students, as well as extension and outreach communities. The teaching note includes multiple-choice questions and suggested answers to analytical, discussion, and multiple-choice questions. The teaching note also discusses teaching objectives, teaching strategies, and student background knowledge.

Keywords: Broilers, oligopoly, pork, price-fixing, Sherman Act

Economic Dynamics in the Beef Food Supply Chain under Pandemic Conditions

Grace Melo, Luis Peña-Lévano, and Kori Luengo

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Posted online: May 25, 2022
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doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.324809

Abstract: This case study discusses the potential effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. beef market during the first half of 2020. This sector confronted significant economic distortions caused by the increasing rate of infection in meat processing and packaging plants. We illustrate the COVID-19 related effects on the beef industry by using cattle-meat marketing channel framework, which comprises of two markets: cattle raw meat cuts supplied by farmers, and retailed processed meat sold by retailers and wholesale markets to final consumers as packed and processed products. The case study discusses different supply and demand shocks affecting the meat market system during and after the lockdown period. The article also explores the potential changes in equilibrium prices in alternative meat markets and how these could affect prices in conventional meat products. The teaching note discusses the objectives and provides further recommendations on the delivery of the case study, including a team peer evaluation.

Keywords: Case study, beef, processed food, meat supply, marketing channel, multi-sector model

Teaching and Educational Commentaries

The Empathetic Course Design Perspective

Donald A. Saucier, Tucker L. Jones, Ashley A. Schiffer, and Noah D. Renken

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Posted online: September 27, 2022
doi: 10.22004/ag.econ.324807

Abstract: Empathy, the ability and willingness to take the cognitive and emotional perspective of others, is becoming increasingly important within academia. We introduce our Empathetic Course Design Perspective that refers to the intentional infusion of empathy into a course. We discuss the overarching beliefs that underlie this perspective, such as instructors’ commitment to inclusive teaching practices. In this commentary, we present practical recommendations for incorporating this perspective into your classes, in terms of course syllabi; schedules and routines; modalities; policies; and assignments and assessments. We believe this template is flexible and can be applied to any course (e.g., lower- and upper-level classes), in any modality (e.g., face-to-face, hybrid/hyflex, online), and in any academic discipline. Ultimately, we believe the Empathetic Course Design Perspective can transform our courses into learning spaces that are more positive, supportive, and engaging for us as instructors and, more importantly, for our students.

Keywords: Course design, empathy, engagement, pedagogy