THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Price Integration in Wholesale Maize Markets in Pakistan
Continuing debate concerning the appropriate role of the government in the marketplace and the necessity to some how estimate the effects of agricultural policies on agricultural markets have forced researchers to develop various methods, which would enable them to analyse market efficiency. Government intervention in setting prices, incomes and markets is always controversial. For economists, government intervention may be justified if it does not enhance distortions into the market and, moreover, remedies the existing market imperfections. But how can one observe whether the policy proves to improve market functioning or results in even more inefficiency? One way to throw some light on this long-standing issue is to analyse market performance by studying market integration. Three types of market integration are identified in the literature, which are intertemporal, vertical and spatial. Inter-temporal market integration relates to the arbitrage process across periods. Vertical market integration is concerned with stages in marketing and processing channels. Spatial integration is concerned with the integration of spatially distinct markets i.e. if price changes in one market are fully reflected in alternative market then these markets are said to be spatially integrated. The concept of market integration has normally been applied in studies involving spatial market interrelatedness.