University of California

Economic efficiency in plant operations with special reference to the marketing of California pears


B. C. French
L. L. Sammet
R. G. Bressler

Authors Affiliations

B. C. French was Formerly Coöperative Agent of the Agricultural Marketing Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and the Experiment Station, University of California, Berkeley, now Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University; L. L. Sammet was Coöperative Agent of the Agricultural Marketing Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Experiment Station, and Specialist in the Experiment Station, University of California, Berkeley; Bressler was Professor of Agricultural Economics and Director of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 24(19):543-721. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v24n19p543. July 1956.

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For some years the California Agricultural Experiment Station and the United States Department of Agriculture have been coöperating on a series of studies of marketing cost and efficiency for deciduous fruits. These studies have had two major objectives: (1) the development of appropriate and effective research approaches to problems of plant operation and organization, making use of a combination of techniques from the fields of economics, accounting, and engineering; and (2) the application of these techniques to specific problems in the handling and marketing of deciduous fruits in California.

The present publication is the first comprehensive technical research report on this work. It is concerned with the development of the appropriate theoretical framework for studies of plant costs and efficiency and with the research methods used in the empirical approach to these theoretical relationships. It then applies these methods to an analysis of the major functions or stages in fresh pear packing houses. Finally, stage relationships are synthesized into descriptions of short- and long-run cost functions under efficient operating conditions. Much of the material on stage relationships has been published as a series of Giannini Foundation mimeograph reports and as popularized research digests in California Agriculture. These functions were used to determine optimum combinations of plant technologies and to synthesize plant cost and economies of scale functions in a thesis entitled “Economic Efficiency in California Pear Packing Plants,” submitted by the senior author to the Graduate Division, University of California, in 1953. This thesis also brought together and developed the appropriate theoretical and empirical methodology. The present publication is largely a revision and elaboration of the thesis study.


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French B, Sammet L, Bressler R. 1956. Economic efficiency in plant operations with special reference to the marketing of California pears. Hilgardia 24(19):543-721. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v24n19p543
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