Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



With the recent proliferation of Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) the tendency world-wide has been seemingly toward trade liberalization. This thesis is primarily concerned with the impacts RTAs have had in the Western Hemisphere regarding agricultural trade flows. Utilizing the framework of the Gravity Model, agricultural trade flows for 24 Western Hemisphere Nations were examined. In the course of the study it was expected that if RTAs were to have an effect it would be a positive Trade Creation Effect and a negative Trade Diversion Effect with positive effects for GDP of importer/exporter and population size of importer/exporter and a negative effect for that of distance. Of the five agreements examined (NAFTA, AC, MERCO, LAIA, and CACM), NAFTA and LAIA were the only positive (but non-significant) as to Trade Creation effects while AC, MERCO, and CACM were all negative (but non-significant). It was also interesting to note that of the agreements, NAFTA, had both a positive and significant (p=0.023) diversionary effect with the remaining agreements all being negative (as expected) and significant regarding trade diversion. It was also concluded that GDP (importer) and distance also had the expected signs (+,– respectively) with distance also being significant (p=0.0001). It was concluded that RTAs had a more pronounced effect on inter-industry trade versus intra-industry trade and that with the passage of more time, further analysis may substantiate the claim of a positive RTA effect on agricultural bilateral trade flows.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

P. Lynn Kennedy