Rigoberto Lopez is the DelFavero Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He is an expert in food systems, marketing, industrial organization, and public policy.
Areas of Expertise (4)
University of Florida: Ph.D., Food & Resource Economics
University of Florida: B.S., Food & Resource Economics
- Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
- Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Co-Editor, Agribusiness: An International Journal (professional)
Agribusiness is an international agricultural economics journal publishing articles that improve our understanding of how food systems work, how they are evolving, and how public and/or private actions affect the performance of the global agro-industrial complex.
Media Appearances (3)
We love dollar stores in CT. But here’s what can happen when they move in: study
Hartford Courant print
Dollar stores have proliferated in recent years, and a study by a University of Connecticut economist has found that they contribute to less healthful food choices in the neighborhoods where they open. That’s because independent grocery stores tend to close in the same areas where the dollar stores open, according to professor Rigoberto Lopez, whose research focuses on agricultural economics. “The dollar store expanding is the fastest-growing retail format, and we also have seen a lot of family, independently owned grocery stores going out of business,” Lopez said. “So we try to link the two and to find not just a statistical correlation, but also we find that indeed when the dollar store comes to the neighborhood these stores tend to go out of business as well.”
Climate change increases milk production
Great Lakes Echo online
Dairy cows produce less milk when they get too hot, said Rigoberto Lopez, the corresponding author of the study and a professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Connecticut. However, hot temperatures stimulate the growth of plants that cows eat to produce milk.
5 ways the food supply chain will evolve after the pandemic
Hearst Connecticut Media print
Professor Rigoberto Lopez, of the UConn Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, predicts a future shift to grocery stores instead of restaurants as major purchasers in the food supply chain. The survival of many restaurants is in question, not just because of the shutdown but because fear is driving consumer decisions not to dine out; the effects on the economic depression on eating out will also shift consumers toward grocery stores. Some restaurants are shifting their role to cover gaps in their revenue shortfalls and playing the role of “grocerants,” where they operate as both a restaurant and a grocery store — Panera Bread for instance.
Consumer preferences for sustainably produced ultra-high-temperature milk in ChinaJournal of Dairy Science
2023 Contrary to ongoing declines in per capita milk consumption in the United States and Europe, per capita milk consumption in China is experiencing dramatic increases, making China one of the most dynamic global dairy markets. Meeting the rapid growth in milk demand presents environmental challenges under current dairy farm production in China. This article measures Chinese consumer valuation of environmentally sustainable milk and of correlated attributes such as food safety and geographic origin. The authors used a discrete choice experiment to collect survey data from a stratified sample of respondents in 5 cities.
Dollar store expansion and independent grocery retailer contractionApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
2023 This paper examines the effects of dollar store entry on independent grocery retailers in the United States between 2000 and 2019. We utilized an establishment‐level dataset comprising all grocery retailers and dollar stores in the country. Our findings indicate that dollar store entry is associated with a 5.7% decrease in sales, a 3.7% reduction in employment, and a 2.3% rise in the likelihood of independent grocery retailers quitting the business. These adverse entry effects are three times larger in rural than urban areas. Event studies indicate that the negative impact on sales and employment disappears gradually in urban areas but persists in rural communities.
Input and Output Market Power with Non-neutral Productivity: Livestock and Labor in MeatpackingCentre for Economic Policy Research
2023 Market power can be present in both a firm’s product and input markets, allowing for supranormal profits to the detriment of social welfare. However, identification is challenging because it requires unbiased estimates of production elasticities under the interwoven presence of monopsony power and non-neutral productivity. We propose a way to measure market power in the product market and several input markets of a firm that is robust to biased technological change. The inference can be checked by assessing how much each market contributes to the gross profits of the firm. We illustrate the method with data from the highly concentrated US meatpacking industry, which is often suspected of exploiting livestock farmers and immigrant workers.
Consumer responses to nutrition labels in ChinaJournal of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
2023 As a cost‐effective way to promote healthy eating habits and prevent obesity, nutrition labeling has drawn great public interest around the world. China implemented its first mandatory nutrition labeling regulation under the National Food Safety Standard for Nutrition Labeling of Pre‐packaged Foods (GB28050‐2011) in 2013. Focusing on the Chinese carbonated soft drinks market and using a mixed logit model based on 132,849 purchase records from over 40,000 households, this study investigates consumers' responses to nutrition labels. Empirical results show that nutrition labeling induces Chinese consumers to select relatively healthier products and could be a prominent policy tool for sugar reduction.
Is no news bad news? The impact of disclosing COVID‐19 tracing information on consumer dine out decisionsAgricultural Economics
2022 Food markets around the world have been disrupted by the COVID‐19 pandemic via consumer behavior upended by fear of infection. In this article, we examine the impact of disclosing COVID‐19 contact tracing information on food markets, using the restaurant industry in China as a case study. By analyzing transaction data at 87 restaurants across 10 cities, we estimate difference‐in‐difference (DID) models to ascertain the impact of COVID‐19 infections and contact information tracing on economic activity as measured by a daily number of transactions.