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Managing animal health status information in the cattle market

By Olivier Rat-Aspert, Habtu T. Weldegebriel, Alistair W. Stott and C. Fourichon

Abstract

The paper analyses the problem of information in the cattle market, particularly as it relates to the status of animal health, and discusses ways to limit it with the view to improving social surplus. Against this background, it aims to achieve three major objectives. Firstly, it describes the ways of improving the level of information through such schemes as Conventional Warranties and Third Party Certification and the different choices made by sellers and buyers in the presence of these schemes. Secondly, it studies the various ways by which these schemes make an impact on equilibria in different markets (i.e., the pooling market and the premium market), and, consequently, on the social surplus. Thirdly, it identifies the necessary conditions for a third party/public decision-maker to increase social surplus and reduce the negative externality caused by disease by managing and supporting Third Party Certification. The paper shows that product certification and product warranty cannot coexist because product warranty is suboptimal. It also shows that certification, and a possible supporting of certification or animal testing does not necessarily improve the safety of the trade.Asymmetric information, Third-Party certification, Disease Externalities, Livestock Production/Industries,

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