Title page for ETD etd-04082016-141919

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ramirez Hernandez, Katherine
Author's Email Address kramir4@lsu.edu
URN etd-04082016-141919
Title An Augmented Gravity Model: Factors that Affect the U.S. Sugar Imports from Western Hemisphere Countries
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Agricultural Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kennedy, Philip L. Committee Chair
Salassi, Michael Committee Member
Westra, John Committee Member
  • Sugar Cane
  • International trade
  • Single-Commodity Gravity Model
  • Gravity Model
  • U.S. Sugar Industry
Date of Defense 2016-04-05
Availability unrestricted
This study analyzes the main factors that affect sugar imports to the United States from western hemisphere producing countries. Important variables such as Free Trade Agreements, production capacity levels and the quota imposed by the United States to the imported sugar will be analyzed under the scope of the gravity model.

The estimation of the model is carried out using an OLS analysis. The variables used to create a reliable single-commodity gravity model are: sugar production indicators, distances between the involved countries, population, import quotas, and a set of dummy variables such as FTA (Free Trade Agreements) and border, that augment the model in order to identify and capture the effects of transactional costs and productivity on the sugar industry. The main focus is to assess the extent in which the variables affect sugar imports by the United States. The participation of the United States on international trade makes it essential identifying the FTAs in which they are involved. Some of the FTAs are the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), The Dominican Republic and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), and individual FTAs. On the other hand, the major constraint to U.S. sugar imports are the tariff rate-quotas (TRQ), which are analyzed in order to determine the degree of the effect of this distortion on sugar trade. This research will demonstrate that although the existence of efficient sugar producers and, that FTAs suppose an increase of trade between countries, in the sugar industry, quotas have shown weighting more than any other factor in the U.S. sugar imports.

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