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Abstract

Prices offered to farmers by grain handling facilities have been shown to be affected by the spatial competition structure of the market within which these facilities operate. However, little information exists about how elevators' technological and ownership type characteristics, differences in the demand for grain handling services, and volatility in railcar costs alter grain elevators' pricing behaviors within alternative spatially competitive market structures. This work combines several unique datasets—restricted-access rail waybill sample, daily basis bid information, and elevator-level technological and ownership structure characteristics—to provide an exploratory analysis of the specific factors that can help explain basis bid behaviors across 267 Kansas wheat handling facilities. We provide preliminary evidence that these factors could include variation in the final destination of shipped wheat, increased price variability and uncertainty in secondary railcar markets, differences in the capacity and loading speed, and the business structure (cooperative or investor-owned firm) of the elevator.

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