Determinants of World Demand for U.S. Corn Seeds: The Role of Trade Costs

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2009-01-01
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Jayasinghe, Sampath
Moschini, GianCarlo
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Beghin, John
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Moschini, Giancarlo
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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The United States is a large net exporter of corn seeds. Seed trade, including that of corn, has been expanding, but its determinants are not well understood. This paper econometrically investigates the determinants of world demand for U.S. corn seeds with a detailed analysis of trade costs impeding export flows to various markets, including costs associated with distance, tariffs, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations. The analysis relies on a gravity-like model based on an explicit specification of derived demand for seed by foreign corn producers, estimated based on data from 48 countries and for the years 1989 to 2004. An SPS count variable is incorporated as a shifter in the unit cost of seeds faced by foreign users. A sample selection framework is used to account for the determination of which trade flows are positive. All trade costs matter and have had a negative impact on U.S. corn seed exports. Tariffs matter most, followed by distance and SPS measures.

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