Oregon's nursery and greenhouse industry has ranked the first in the State's agricultural for 18 years. The majority of nursery sales from the Pacific Northwest come from Oregon. Due to data limitations, empirical study of the Oregon nursery industry is rare. The present dissertation consists of three essays that analyze the demand and supply of inputs and outputs and the relationship between producers and retailers in the Oregon nursery industry.
Chapter 2 identifies the major factors affecting farm labor supply and demand and evaluates their relative importance in the Oregon nursery industry from 1991 to 2008. Empirical results show that border control effort doesn't have an influential role in labor supply, while the Oregon and Mexican minimum wage do. It is because of the substantial gap between the U.S. and Mexican economies, reflected for an example in the minimum wage gap, which attracts a continual flow of immigrants. Risk of border apprehension is not great enough to prevent the flow. Increases in Oregon minimum wage is more effective than border apprehension policies in boosting the average wage and in reducing the number of hours that illegal immigrants work in the nursery sector.
Chapter 3 investigates producers' and retailers' choices of, and reactions to, various contract types in the Oregon nursery industry from 2005 to 2010. As new and fast-growing retailers in the industry, big-box stores are less likely than independent retailers to make pre-order contracts with the producer. However, once a pre-order contract is chosen, big-box stores demand more days of pre-order interval than independent retailers do. Transactions with independent retailers exhibit – on average over the sample range – scale economies and scope diseconomies. Boosting per-transaction revenue scale and the number of species sold to big-box stores enhances transaction efficiency.
Chapter 4 examines the interaction between supply and demand in Oregon nursery products. The result indicates that the production and transaction costs are major drivers on the supply side, while transportation costs and consumer demand for nursery products play important roles on the demand side. At the genus level, the supply elasticities of coniferous plants are larger than those of deciduous plants, which in turn are higher than those of flowering plants. The demand elasticities are the lowest in coniferous trees followed by deciduous plants, then flowering plants. Price discounts on plants with high demand elasticities would significantly boost sales and enlarge the market, while those on plants with low demand elasticities would have less sales impact. Empirically, patenting seems to bring no direct signs of greater profitability. The wholesale nursery may wish to reconsider the pricing and marketing policies of its patented plants to differentiate them more effectively from its non-patented plants.