Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level



Supply Chain Management


Brian S. Fugate

Committee Member

Brent D. Williams

Second Committee Member

Rodney Thomas

Third Committee Member

Jason W. Miller


buyer-supplier exchange, farm, futures markets, operations decisions, public policy, supply chain management


Farm-level operations have lasting and amplified impacts that promulgate the entire supply chain, and the farm is increasingly in the forefront of today’s headlines on topics such as social responsibility, environmental sustainability, traceability, and food safety. Despite its significance, however, the farm remains a ‘black box’ and has traditionally operated independently with little information-sharing, trust, or collaboration with buyers downstream. This dissertation begins to unpack this ‘black box’ by employing different methodologies to identify the factors influencing exchange in the farm-supply chain interface. In Essay 1, I examine why the farm continues to be a challenge for ‘traditional’ collaborative approaches to buyer-supplier exchange. I use an interpretive approach to identify the individual and institutional factors influencing farmers’ operations decision-making. Field interviews reveal that farmers approach buyer-supplier exchange differently and tend to rely more heavily on market mechanisms to coordinate activities with buyers and inform their decision-making. In Essay 2, I build on this finding to examine the institutional factors influencing exchange in the spot market, which accounts for a majority of the total value of agricultural commodity production. I use a proprietary data set and time series econometrics to investigate how spot market exchanges between farmers and buyers are influenced by the futures market—an institution serving critical informational and risk management functions in the industry. In line with the predictions of Austrian economics, the findings indicate that farmers and buyers use the information conveyed by the futures market as they negotiate prices in the spot market. In Essay 3, I build on this finding and further explore how the futures market influences spot market exchanges by examining how information asymmetry affects the price adjustment process. I draw on economic theory to develop hypotheses that are tested using a proprietary data set and nonlinear time series econometrics. The findings suggest that buyers exploit their informational advantage by adjusting spot market prices asymmetrically. Taken together, the three essays demonstrate how institutions influence decision-making and exchange in the agricultural supply chain and offer important insights for theory, practice, and public policy.