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Choosing the best model in the presence of zero trade: a fish product analysis


  • Tran, Nhuong
  • Wilson, Norbert L.W.
  • Hite, Diane


The purpose of the paper is to test the hypothesis that food safety (chemical) standards act as barriers to international seafood imports. We use zero-accounting gravity models to test the hypothesis that food safety (chemical) standards act as barriers to international seafood imports. The chemical standards on which we focus include chloramphenicol required performance limit, oxytetracycline maximum residue limit, fluoro-quinolones maximum residue limit, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) pesticide residue limit. The study focuses on the three most important seafood markets: the European Union’s 15 members, Japan, and North America. Our empirical results confirm the hypothesis and are robust to the OLS as well as alternative zero-accounting gravity models such as the Heckman estimation and the Poisson family regressions. For the choice of the best model specification to account for zero trade and heteroskedastic issues, it is inconclusive to base on formal statistical tests; however the Heckman sample selection and zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) models provide the most reliable parameter estimates based on the statistical tests, magnitude of coefficients, economic implications, and the literature findings. Our findings suggest that continually tightening of seafood safety standards has had a negative impact on exporting countries. Increasing the stringency of regulations by reducing analytical limits or maximum residue limits in seafood in developed countries has negative impacts on their bilateral seafood imports. The paper furthers the literature on food safety standards on international trade. We show competing gravity model specifications and provide additional evidence that no one gravity model is superior.

Suggested Citation

  • Tran, Nhuong & Wilson, Norbert L.W. & Hite, Diane, 2012. "Choosing the best model in the presence of zero trade: a fish product analysis," 2012: New Rules of Trade?, December 2012, San Diego, California 142790, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iat12m:142790

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Chunlai Chen & Jun Yang & Christopher Findlay, 2008. "Measuring the Effect of Food Safety Standards on China’s Agricultural Exports," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 144(1), pages 83-106, April.
    4. Martijn Burger & Frank van Oort & Gert-Jan Linders, 2009. "On the Specification of the Gravity Model of Trade: Zeros, Excess Zeros and Zero-inflated Estimation," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 167-190.
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    6. Bo Xiong & John Beghin, 2017. "Does European aflatoxin regulation hurt groundnut exporters from Africa?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 16, pages 287-307 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Pooja Khosla, 2015. "Intra-Regional Trade In Africa And The Impact Of Chinese Intervention: A Gravity Model Approach," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 40(4), pages 41-66, December.
    2. Seok, Jun Ho & Reed, Michael Robert & Saghaian, Sayed, 3. "The Impact Of Sqf Certification On U.S. Agri-Food Exports," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 4(3).
    3. Chen, Yiu Por (Vincent), 2015. "Fiscal Decentralization, Rural Industrialization, and Undocumented Labor Mobility in Rural China (1982-87)," IZA Discussion Papers 9024, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    seafood trade; food safety (chemical) standards; zero-accounting gravity model; Heckman selection model; Poisson family regression; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; F13; Q17; Q18;

    JEL classification:

    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General


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