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Somya Singhvi — Economically Motivated Adulteration in Farming Supply Chains

January 27, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Economically motivated adulteration (EMA) is a serious threat to public health. In this paper, we develop a modeling framework to examine farms’ strategic adulteration behavior and the resulting EMA risk in farming supply chains. We study both “preemptive EMA,” where farms engage in adulteration to decrease the likelihood of producing low-quality output, and“reactive EMA,” where adulteration is done to increase the perceived quality of the output. We fully characterize the farms’equilibrium adulteration behavior in both types of EMA and analyze how quality uncertainty, supply chain dispersion, traceability, and testing sensitivity (in detecting adulteration) jointly impact the equilibrium adulteration behavior. We determine when greater supply chain dispersion leads to a higher EMA risk and how this result depends on traceability and testing sensitivity. Furthermore, we caution that investing in quality without also enhancing testing capabilities may inadvertently increase EMA risk. Our results highlight the limitation of only relying on end product inspection to deter EMA. We leverage our analyses to offer tangible insights that can help companies and regulators to more proactively address EMA risk in food products.

Somya Singhvi is a fifth-year doctoral candidate at the Operations Research Center at MIT, advised by Professor Retsef Levi and Professor Y. Karen Zheng. His research focuses on developing data-driven models and decision support tools to improve operational efficiency and social welfare in agricultural supply chains and markets of developing countries. The research projects are in collaboration with multiple organizations that are working with smallholder farmers, and field trials of the proposed solutions have had a significant positive impact in practice.


January 27, 2020
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Event Category:


Cheit Hall C230


Berkeley IEOR