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Retailer Supply Chain and Market Access: Evidence From French Agri-food Firms Certified with Private Standards


  • The authors wish to thank Monique Harel and Vanessa Persillet-Shonkwiler from INRA LERECO for their helpful research assistance to gather the data. They also thank Angela Cheptea and Carl Gaigne, and participants to the IATRC meeting in Fort Myers in 2009 for their helpful comments. This work was financially supported by AGFOOD TRADE project, financed by the European Commission (FP7 FP7 – KBBE-2007-1.4-08 – Collaborative Project – Grant Agreement no. 212036).


This paper explores an original data set identifying French agri-food firms certified with two European private standards: the International Food Standard and/or the British Retail Consortium standard (BRC). Certified firms complying with such requirements are able to supply some European retailers with products sold under their retailers' own private label. Our analysis revealed that certified firms were among the biggest and most productive firms in the sample. Then, based on recent developments in international economics, we propose a modification of Chaney's model and estimations to test for the hypothesis that entering retailer networks reduces export costs faced by certified firms to access European union (EU) markets. After controlling for size and productivity effects, model estimations show that French firms who adopt BRC and enter the corresponding network benefit from better access through a significant decrease in their entry costs to certain EU markets.