Food & Agricultural Markets


  • The food and agricultural markets (MKT) field emphasizes economic analysis of commodity production and supply, retail demand for food, and the organization and performance of the food system which transforms raw materials into processed products and delivers them to consumers. The focus is on applied analysis of input markets, output markets, and consumer markets with an emphasis on how firm and industry strategies, along with alternative government policies, influence the structure and performance of market systems. Attention is also given to the underlying institutions and market processes for achieving vertical coordination and supply chain management in the food system, and to how these institutions and processes can be improved.
  • Research and coursework in the field emphasize applications to food and agricultural markets in both developed and developing country environments.
  • Extension and outreach programs focus on market outlook, risk management, and marketing policy analyses in both domestic and international application areas.


  • A strong core of the Department’s faculty works in the MKT field. Faculty are involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching, research, and outreach programs in MKT. Research and outreach programs have both domestic and international components, and many faculties working in the field focus on the role of food and agricultural markets in the process of economic development.
  • Many faculties with interests in food and agricultural markets also have strong links to other research areas in the Department, such as firm and agribusiness management, agricultural and trade policy, and international economic development. The resulting mix of faculty with domestic and international interests and expertise provides a rich learning environment, as well as extensive research opportunities and opportunities for involvement with various extension clients.

Course Program

  • For Ph.D. students, the Department’s two core courses in applied microeconomics: AFRE 900A: Applied Microeconomics I (currently taught as AEC 991: Advanced Topics) and AFRE 900B: Applied Microeconomics II (currently taught as AEC 991: Advanced Topics) provide a foundation for the MKT field. These courses focus, among other things, on applied modeling of commodity production and supply, consumer demand, applied welfare economics, industrial organization of the food system, and policy modeling using math programming, simulation, and applied econometric models.
  • Ph.D. students majoring in MKT will then take three field courses, two of which are required for the field and one of which is an elective drawn from a list of options that focus on the role of markets in international development, institutional approaches to food and agricultural markets, food system organization and performance, agricultural and trade policy, and agricultural finance. Individual student course programs will be put together in accordance with student skills and interests with the advice of the student’s major advisor and committee, subject to the field course requirement details provided below.
  • Masters students with an interest in the MKT field are encouraged to take AFRE 900A: Applied Microeconomics I (currently taught as AEC 991: Advanced Topics) and to put together an appropriate program of other courses in the field in consultation with the student’s major advisor and committee.
  • Both Ph.D. and Master’s students with an interest in the MKT field will be encouraged to seek in-depth skills in econometrics and statistical inference and will have opportunities to broaden their knowledge with supplementary courses.


  • The Department has a strong tradition of applied research on food and agricultural market systems. These research programs have been directed towards an improved understanding of the structure and performance of food and agricultural markets with a view towards the improved firm and agribusiness management, industry and market development opportunities, and the analysis of policies designed to impact market outcomes and performance.
  • These research programs have both a domestic and international component. Research clients are in Michigan, other parts of the U.S., as well as in many developing countries. See the faculty list below and the Department research page for more detailed information on research activities in the field. 

Course Requirements

  • Ph.D. students with a major field in MKT take two required courses:
    • *AFRE 930 Dynamic Models in Agricultural and Resource Economics
    • *AFRE 932 Information Economics and Institutions in Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • In addition, the Ph.D. major requires choosing one additional course from the following menu.
    • AFRE 961, Advanced Agricultural Development Economics
    • AFRE 841 Analysis of Food System Organization and Performance
    • AFRE 810 Institutional and Behavioral Economics
    • AFRE 817 Political Economy of Agricultural and Trade Policy
    • AFRE 853 Agricultural Finance
  • Masters students with an interest in food and agricultural markets should put together a suitable course program in consultation with their major advisor and committee, and are also highly encouraged to take AEC 900A: Applied Microeconomics I (currently taught as AEC 991: Advanced Topics).

Other Courses of Potential Interest

  • In addition to the courses listed above, there are other courses across the University that may be of potential interest to students with an interest in the field. These include:
    • AFRE 861 Agriculture in Economic Development
    • AFRE 865 Agricultural Benefit-Cost Analysis
    • EC 440 International Trade
    • EC 840 International Trade: Theory and Commercial Policy
    • EC 860 Market Structure and Behavior
    • AEC/MSC 831 Food Marketing Management
    • MSC 800 Supply Chain Management
    • MSC 805 Marketing Management
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