Spring 2014 (Vol. 53, No. 1)

Specifying and Estimating a Regional Agricultural Railroad Demand Model


In recent years there have been few railroad demand studies. Also, no study has investigated the possibility of regional differences in railroad demand. The objective of the paper is to estimate railroad demand functions for wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans for the United States as well as the east and west regions. A two-region spatial equilibrium model is employed to specify the empirical model in which railroad tons originated is the dependent variable. The explanatory variables include railroad price per ton, crop production, and barge price per ton. The theoretically expected sign is negative for rail price. Alternatively, the expected sign is positive for crop production and barge rate. Results include estimates of railroad own-price elasticities and cross price elasticities relative to barge transport. The estimates also reveal regional differences in railroad grain demand.

by Michael W. Babcock and Philip G. Gayle

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