Market power of genetically modified soybeans traded between the United States and Korea

Eun Ae Son, Song Soo Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this study was to investigate market power of soybeans exported by the United States to Korea. Particularly, this paper considered dichotomous characteristics of genetically modified (GM) soybeans and non-GM soybeans and conducted empirical analysis of these two segregated soybean markets to understand key tenets of market power in international soybean trade. Design/methodology - The difference in market power between GM and non-GM soybeans was analyzed using Residual Demand Elasticity (RDE) and Residual Supply Elasticity (RSE) models over the period of 2008~2018. RDE and RSE models under an imperfect competition condition were used to estimate market margins and determine whether GM and non-GM exporters or importers exercised market power in the destination market. Findings - Empirical results suggested that the U.S. had a market power on both GM and non-GM soybean exports. GM exports had greater market power than non-GM exports (14% vs. 9%). By contrast, Korea showed an inability to grab market margin or exert market power in soybean imports. Both export supply by the U.S. and import demand by Korea were found to be more responsive to price changes of GM soybeans than to prices changes of non-GM soybeans. This might be due to a self-interested, profit-seeking strategy by the exporter and many concerned consumers regarding potential adverse effects of GMOs in the importing country. Originality/value - This paper fills the literature gap by exploiting market power in both GM and non-GM markets with explicit consideration of price correlations between GM and non-GM soybeans in Korea. A number of existing studies have provided evidence for market power broadly embedded in international commodity trade. However, studies focusing on Korean markets are limited. No study has explored the country’s soybean trade. Furthermore, the majority of prior studies have almost exclusively focused on the market power from a standpoint of exporting countries without discussing importers’ market structure. This paper also sought to understand potentially distinguished patterns of market power between GM and non-GM markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Korea Trade
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Genetically modified soybeans
  • Market power
  • Residual demand elasticity model
  • Residual supply elasticity model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Industrial relations
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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