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Abstract

This paper assesses the impacts of the Northeast Dairy Compact (NEDC) and retail oligopoly power on fluid milk prices in Boston. Empirical results reveal that price increases due to oligopoly power outweighed those caused by the NEDC by nearly seven times. In fact, markups are estimated at approximately 25% of the retail milk price, translating into approximately a little less than $0.75/gallon. We also estimated that only around two-thirds of the raw milk price changes were passed forward to consumers. This helps explain why consumer prices have come down only little after elimination of the NEDC. In fact, the new milk income-loss contract program, which basically provides partial price subsidies to farmers, has contributed to low raw milk prices that have generated substantial benefits to milk processors and retailers, modest benefits to farmers and consumers, all at the expense of taxpayers. [JEL classification: L66, L11, L13]. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 21: 477–491, 2005.