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Abstract

Fresh vegetables, including asparagus, are now available in months outside of the domestic growing season for most U.S. consumers. We use the virtual price method to calculate the equivalent variation for increased availability in a demand system for fresh and frozen vegetables and find that virtual price of out-of-season asparagus is roughly 3 times higher than its in-season price in years prior to year round availability. We find the equivalent variation between 1986-1991 (when asparagus was available approximately half the year) and 1993-1999 (when it was available year round) to be 0.91 of consumer vegetable budgets, implying a welfare benefit of approximately $86 million annually. We also find evidence of habit formation for fresh but not frozen goods.

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