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Analysis of the United States' sugar Industry

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Unrestricted Mexican exports of sugar into the U.S. is considered the most pressing issue facing the U.S. sugar industry. The goal of this dissertation is to analyze the trade of

Unrestricted Mexican exports of sugar into the U.S. is considered the most pressing issue facing the U.S. sugar industry. The goal of this dissertation is to analyze the trade of sugar between Mexico and the U.S. as well as analyze additional primary issues confronting the U.S. sugar industry. Chapters 1 and 2 provide an introduction to the U.S. sugar industry. Chapters 3 through 6 develop trade models which analyze sugar trade between Mexico and the U.S. The trade models estimate how NAFTA, USDA sugar forecast errors and Mexican ownership of twenty percent of the Mexican sugar industry each impact U.S. producer surplus and Mexican welfare. Results validate that U.S. producer surplus and in some instances Mexican welfare were decreased by full implementation of NAFTA. U.S. producer surplus and Mexican welfare were decreased due to USDA sugar production forecasting errors. U.S. producer surplus would be increased if the Mexican government did not own twenty percent of Mexican sugar production. Using an online choice experiment, Chapter 7 assesses U.S. consumers' preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for imported and genetically modified (GM) labeled sugar and sugar in soft drinks. Results indicate that consumers prefer bags of sugar and soft drinks labeled as "Not GM". Furthermore, consumers prefer sugar from Canada and the U.S. over sugar from Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines. Evidence is also provided that participants are more likely to choose actual products in the choice set rather than the "none of these" options when controlling for hypothetical bias by using consequentiality techniques. A non-hypothetical experimental auction was used in Chapter 8 to determine consumers' WTP for soft drinks labeled with sweetener and calorie information and analyzed the role of taste panels in an experimental auction. Results indicate that sugar is consumers' most preferred sweetener and calorie labeling is ineffective at influencing consumers to choose healthier soft drinks. Including taste in an experimental auction caused significant reductions in consumers' WTP for all soft drinks. Chapter 9 concludes by summarizing the results of this dissertation and discussing the future challenges facing the U.S. sugar industry.

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  • 2014

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Three essays on innovation: optimal licensing strategies, new variety adoption, and consumer preference in a peer network

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It is well understood that innovation drives productivity growth in agriculture. Innovation, however, is a process that involves activities distributed throughout the supply chain. In this dissertation I investigate

It is well understood that innovation drives productivity growth in agriculture. Innovation, however, is a process that involves activities distributed throughout the supply chain. In this dissertation I investigate three topics that are at the core of the distribution and diffusion of innovation: optimal licensing of university-based inventions, new variety adoption among farmers, and consumers’ choice of new products within a social network environment.

University researchers assume an important role in innovation, particularly as a result of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed universities to license inventions funded by federal research dollars, to private industry. Aligning the incentives to innovate at the university level with the incentives to adopt downstream, I show that non-exclusive licensing is preferred under both fixed fee and royalty licensing. Finding support for non-exclusive licensing is important as it provides evidence that the concept underlying the Bayh-Dole Act has economic merit, namely that the goals of university-based researchers are consistent with those of society, and taxpayers, in general.

After licensing, new products enter the diffusion process. Using a case study of small holders in Mozambique, I observe substantial geographic clustering of new-variety adoption decisions. Controlling for the other potential factors, I find that information diffusion through space is largely responsible for variation in adoption. As predicted by a social learning model, spatial effects are not based on geographic distance, but rather on neighbor-relationships that follow from information exchange. My findings are consistent with others who find information to be the primary barrier to adoption, and means that adoption can be accelerated by improving information exchange among farmers.

Ultimately, innovation is only useful when adopted by end consumers. Consumers’ choices of new products are determined by many factors such as personal preferences, the attributes of the products, and more importantly, peer recommendations. My experimental data shows that peers are indeed important, but “weak ties” or information from friends-of-friends is more important than close friends. Further, others regarded as experts in the subject matter exert the strongest influence on peer choices.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Role of Women in Improving Productivity and Efficiency of Rice: Evidence from India

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Women’s contributions to agriculture are an essential factor in achieving food security in developing countries. In rice production, women’s involvement is usually limited to their labor participation. Differences in gender

Women’s contributions to agriculture are an essential factor in achieving food security in developing countries. In rice production, women’s involvement is usually limited to their labor participation. Differences in gender roles within the household hinder women from accessing productive resources and services compared to their male counterparts, leading to a gender gap in rice productivity. With the steady growth of rice productivity experienced in eastern India, it is essential to reduce the gender gap by providing women equal access to resources. However, there is little information on how the gender gap can be addressed between married couples in a patriarchal family structure like India. This dissertation analyzes the potential impact on rice productivity and input use when the spouse (wife) in the household has given access to resources (e.g., rice variety and credit). The first chapter analyzes the impact of a married couple’s decision-making strategy in choosing rice varieties on rice productivity and input use using an endogenous switching regression. The second chapter estimates the effect of access to financial services on technical efficiency using a stochastic production frontier framework. The last chapter evaluates how joint decision-making strategy influences the inverse relationship between farm size and rice productivity following a yield approach and quantile regression.
The findings show that joint decision-making strategy choice leads to a higher rice yield and fertilizer usage while lower labor requirements. Regarding spouse access to financial resources, results show a significant difference in technological and managerial gaps. However, that households with access have a lower predicted rice yield than households without access. The last chapter shows that joint decision-making in the family still left the inverse relationship unchanged in examining the inverse relationship.
The dissertation provides two significant implications. First, results provide evidence of gender-differentiated preferences for rice variety within the household that can affect rice productivity and input use. Second, the spouse’s access to credit does not necessarily lead to an increase in rice productivity. Thus, determining the primary purpose of why households avail financial services would be essential in analyzing its impact on productivity to avoid misleading results.

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Date Created
  • 2021