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James MacDonald

Research Professor

2216 Symons Hall 7998 Regents Drive College Park, MD 20742-5535


  • Agricultural Economics
  • Industrial Organization



Dr. MacDonald’s research focuses on the industrial organization of food and agriculture. It covers traditional IO concerns with competition and pricing, but extends to analyses of the causes and consequences of structural change in industries. Notable studies include analyses of the effects of railroad deregulation on grain transportation; the causes and consequences of consolidation in livestock production and meatpacking; the changing organization and structure of US agriculture; entry and exit in food processing; USDA food procurement auctions; and competition and retail food pricing. He has been an innovator in applying administrative data from Federal agencies, as well as record-level data from Federal statistical surveys, to these issues.

Prior to joining the department in 2020, Dr. MacDonald was chief of the Structure, Technology, and Productivity Branch at USDA’s Economic Research Service. As branch chief, he built teams and supervised ERS research on farm structure, productivity, field practices, and agricultural research and innovation, while co-managing USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey.


Ph.D. in economics, Ph.D, State University of New York at Buffalo

B.S. Siena College