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Abstract

Agricultural economists are often interested in characterizing or summarizing how economic processes and institutions have changed through time as well as what paths they are likely to take in future time periods. Given this interest or objective, we are therefore interested in methods of analysis that will accomplish these purposes and that are simple to apply. Within this context the major purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept of a Markov chain process and to indicate its potential usefulness in analyzing problems where detailed time-ordered data exist over some time span. As a particular vehicle for the discussion, a limited example concerning the past and potential size distribution of a sample of hog-producing firms in central Illinois will be analyzed.

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