Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Beghin, John C., and Amani Elobeid. May 2013. The impact of the U.S. sugar program redux. CARD Working Paper 13-WP 538. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.


Published in Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy 37:1 (March 2015), pp. 1–33.

doi: 10.1093/aepp/ppu028

Copyright © 2015 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Used by permission.


We analyze the various welfare costs, transfers, trade, and employment consequences of the current U.S. sugar program for U.S. consumers, other sugar users, sugar refiners, cane and beet growing and processing industries, other associated agricultural sectors, and world markets. The removal of the sugar program would increase U.S. consumers’ welfare by $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion each year and generate a modest job creation of 17,000 to 20,000 new jobs in food manufacturing and related industries. Imports of sugar containing products would fall dramatically, especially confectioneries substituting for domestic inputs under the sugar program. Sugar imports would rise substantially to 5 to 6 million short tons raw sugar equivalent. World price increases would be minor, equivalent to about 1 cent per pound.