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Phillip Kaufman

Agricultural Economist


Phil Kaufman is an agricultural economist in the Food Markets Branch. His research activities are divided between analysis of changing structure and competition in retail food markets and low-income households’ access to foodstores, food price differences, and the effectiveness of Federal programs that use the retail food sector for the distribution of food assistance benefits.


Phil has focused on the changing structure of retail food industry and its implications for firm competition and economic and financial performance since first coming to ERS in 1980. He was a project member and lead author of a large-scale study of supermarket prices and price differences, and the city, firm, and store characteristics that influence them. In the 1990’s, his work expanded to include analysis of low-income households’ access to foodstores, whether the poor pay more for food, and the impact of State cost-containment practices on the WIC food assistance program.


Phil received a B.A. degree from Sonoma State University (California), majoring in Economics. He completed graduate school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, receiving an M.A. degree in Agricultural Economics. In addition, he has completed graduate courses at the Kogod College of Business, American University, in Washington, DC.

Professional Affiliations:

Member, Food Distribution Research Society.

Selected Publications:

Bjornson, B., and P. Kaufman. "Change and Firm Valuation in U.S. Food Retailing and Manufacturing," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Issue 35, No. 2, July 2004.

Dimitri, C., A. Tegene, and P. Kaufman. U.S. Fresh Produce Markets: Marketing Channels, Trade Practices, and Retail Pricing, USDA, Economic Research Service, AER No. 825, September 2003.

Kaufman, P.R. Balancing Food Costs with Nutrition Goals in WIC, Amber Waves, USDA, Economic Research Service, September 2003.

Kaufman, P.R. Food Retailing, chapter in U.S. Food Marketing System 2002 (S. Martinez, ed.), USDA, Economic Research Service, AER 811, August 2002.

Leibtag, E., and P. Kaufman. Exploring Food Purchase Behavior of Low-Income Household - How Do They Economize?, Current Issues, USDA, Economic Research Service, AIB No. 747-07, June 2003.

Kaufman, P.R. Consolidation in Food Retailing: Prospects for Consumers and Grocery Suppliers, Agricultural Outlook, August, 2000.


Last updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013

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