The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Sugar Industry

  • Wallace P. Mullin
Reference work entry


The sugar industry is the set of firms involved in processing sugar from sugar cane or sugar beets and distributing it to consumers. The industry is both ancient and modern. Sugar production has occurred for thousands of years. But the developments since 1880 have received the most attention from economists. Over subsequent decades, the industry experienced several structural changes and legal regimes. The industry’s evolution provides a window into central questions such as the sources of market power, and the theory of the firm. Much of this research has focused on the United States, although it was a global industry.


Collusion Entry Firm, theory of Information sharing among firms Market power Mergers Non-price agreements Price fixing Sugar industry Sugar Institute (USA) Sugar tariff (USA) Transaction cost economics 

JEL Classifications

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Dye, A. 1998. Cuban sugar in the age of mass production. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Eichner, A. 1969. The emergence of oligopoly: Sugar refining as a case study. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ellison, S., and W. Mullin. 1995. Economics and politics: The case of sugar tariff reform. Journal of Law and Economics 38: 335–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Genesove, D., and W. Mullin. 1998. Testing static oligopoly models: Conduct and cost in the sugar industry, 1890–1914. Rand Journal of Economics 29: 355–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Genesove, D., and W. Mullin. 1999. The Sugar Institute learns to organize information exchange. In Learning by doing in markets, firms, and countries, ed. N. Lamoreaux, D. Raff, and P. Temin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. Genesove, D., and W. Mullin. 2001. Rules, communication and collusion: Narrative evidence from the Sugar Institute case. American Economic Review 91: 379–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Genesove, D., and W. Mullin. 2006. Predation and its rate of return: The sugar industry, 1887–1914. Rand Journal of Economics 37: 47–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Krueger, A. 1990. The political economy of controls: American sugar. In Public policy and economic development, ed. M. Scott and D. Lal. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Zerbe, R. 1969. The American Sugar Refinery Company 1887–1914: The story of a monopoly. Journal of Law and Economics 12: 339–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wallace P. Mullin
    • 1
  1. 1.