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The aim of the paper is to analyse the evolution of coordination mechanisms among actors within marketing channels linked to a typical agro-food product on the basis of the conceptual framework given by the economic theory of conventions. The case study regards Chianina beef, with particular reference to the zone of origin of this "focal breed" (province of Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy). After having reviewed the essential points of the economic theory of conventions and its principal applications to quality in agro-food system, the focus of the paper has been centred on the main changes regarding the systems of production, marketing and consumption of Chianina beef in order to underline the evolutions in the operative quality conventions. Particular attention has been paid to the different quality hallmarks present on the product on the final market : quality hallmarks have been interpreted as "conventional supports", expression of the will to enforce and make more visible the active quality conventions.


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