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'Trick or Treat?' The Misrepresentation of American Beef Exports in Britain During the Nineteenth Century

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Higgins

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Abstract

This article examines the misrepresentation of American beef in the British market between c. 1890 and c. 1913. We examine the complaints voiced by British consumers, producers, and retailers and we discuss the response of the British government and the United States Department of Agriculture. A new dataset is employed to calculate the price premiums that could be earned from the misrepresentation of beef according to geographic origin. While considerable premiums could be earned by “passing-off” American beef as British in the 1890s, these premiums declined during the 1900s. Particular emphasis is placed on the inability of the British government to act unilaterally on meat marking. This article also considers origin as a means of distinguishing between categories of nonbranded goods. Yet “origin” has many dimensions. Not only does it indicate provenance, it sometimes signals quality associated with provenance while also serving as the basis for protectionist responses. This article therefore contributes to the broader debates surrounding origin marking as a commercial and legal phenomenon.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Higgins DM, Gangjee D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Enterprise & Society

Year: 2010

Volume: 11

Issue: 2

Pages: 203-241

ISSN (print): 1467-2235

ISSN (electronic): 1467-2235

Publisher: Oxford University Press

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/es/khp080

DOI: 10.1093/es/khp080


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