Piecemeal Farm Regulation and the U.S. Commerce Clause

Colin A. Carter, K. Aleks Schaefer, Daniel Scheitrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Since January 2015, California has required that all shell eggs consumed in the state be produced cage free or by hens housed in enlarged cages defined under Assembly Bill 1437. This paper assesses the effects of California farm animal housing restrictions on egg prices and production practices inside and outside California, and on the volume of interstate trade. We find that the California regulation generated short- and long-run egg price increases across the U.S. It has also bifurcated production methods outside California yielding more concentrated interstate trade. The largest share of the associated private costs was borne by out-of-state consumers. The balance between a state's power to regulate food production within its borders and the impacts on out-of-state producers and consumers has potential legal implications under the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1163
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


  • AB 1437
  • dormant Commerce Clause
  • eggs
  • farm animal welfare
  • food movement
  • interstate trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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