Timothy James McQuade is an assistant
professor of finance at Stanford GSB.
For certain products, branding really
matters. If you’re selling consumer goods
such as coffee, clothing, or shampoo,
standing out from the competition is one
of the keys to survival. Then there are bulk
agricultural goods. Take Washington State
apples or Florida oranges, for example.
Each grower’s fruit gets mixed in with
those of neighboring growers before getting
shipped to market. The produce can’t easily
be identified as coming from, say, Farmer
Brown, which means that Farmer Brown
might not be as concerned as he should be
about the quality of his fruit.
Timothy James McQuade, an assistant
professor of finance at Stanford GSB,
calls these generic mixes of products
“untraceable goods” and says such
supplier anonymity can lead to negative
impacts ranging from bruised apples to
BREAKING A BAD CHAIN
In 2015, rescuers freed
more than 2,000 enslaved
fishermen from Indonesia.