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Second-Best Biofuel Policies and the Welfare Effects of Quantity Mandates and Subsidies

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  • Lapan, Harvey E.
  • Moschini, GianCarlo

Abstract

The quest for biorenewable energy sources is held to justify a number of government interventions, including support policies for biofuels such as those responsible for the recent rapid growth of US ethanol production. This article provides an analytical assessment of such policies. We construct a general equilibrium, open economy model that captures the rationale typically invoked to justify government intervention in this setting: to alleviate the environmental impact of energy consumption and to decrease US energy dependence on foreign sources. The model is used to study both the positive and normative implications of alternative policy instruments, including the subsidies and mandates specified by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. From a positive perspective, we find that biofuels mandates are equivalent to a combination of fuel taxes and biofuels subsidies that are revenue neutral. From a welfare perspective, we show that biofuels mandates dominate biofuels subsidies, and that combining fuel taxes with mandates would be welfare enhancing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 34891.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2012
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 2012, vol. 63, pp. 224-241
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:34891

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Cited by:
  1. Mads Greaker & Michael Hoel & Knut Einar Rosendahl, 2012. "Does a Renewable Fuel Standard for Biofuels Reduce Climate Costs?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4030, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Wang, Xiaolei & Ouyang, Yanfeng & Yang, Hai & Bai, Yun, 2013. "Optimal biofuel supply chain design under consumption mandates with renewable identification numbers," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 158-171.
  3. Vincent Martinet, 2012. "Effect of soil heterogeneity on the welfare economics of biofuel policies," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-13, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  4. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Lafforgue, Gilles & Moreaux, Michel, 2012. "Renewable Portfolio Standards and implicit tax-subsidy schemes: Structural differences induced by quantity and proportional mandates," TSE Working Papers 12-278, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  5. Sánchez-Braza, Antonio & Pablo-Romero, María del P., 2014. "Evaluation of property tax bonus to promote solar thermal systems in Andalusia (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 832-843.
  6. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2013. "Unintended Consequences of Transportation Carbon Policies: Land-Use, Emissions, and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 19636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rausser, Gordon C. & de Gorter, Harry, 2013. "US policy contributions to agricultural commodity price fluctuations, 2006.12," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  8. de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan & Kliauga, Erika M. & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2013. "An economic model of Brazil's ethanol-sugar markets and impacts of fuel policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6524, The World Bank.
  9. Moschini, GianCarlo & Cui, Jingbo & Lapan, Harvey, 2012. "Economics of Biofuels: An Overview of Policies, Impacts and Prospects," Staff General Research Papers 35548, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. Kalkuhl, Matthias & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Lessmann, Kai, 2013. "Renewable energy subsidies: Second-best policy or fatal aberration for mitigation?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 217-234.
  11. Julian M. Alston & Philip G. Pardey, 2014. "Agriculture in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 121-46, Winter.
  12. Lemoine, Derek, 2013. "Escape from Third-Best: Rating Emissions for Intensity Standards," 2014 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2014, Philadelphia, PA, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 161656, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  13. de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2013. "The effect of biodiesel policies on world oilseed markets and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6453, The World Bank.
  14. Chen, Xiaoguang & Huang, Haixiao & Khanna, Madhu & Önal, Hayri, 2014. "Alternative transportation fuel standards: Welfare effects and climate benefits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 241-257.
  15. Geir H. Bjertnæs, 2013. "Biofuel mandate versus favourable taxation of electric cars. The case of Norway," Discussion Papers 745, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  16. Klotz, Richard & Bento, Antonio M. & Landry, Joel R., 2013. "Economic Insights Required for Using Lifecycle Analysis for Policy Decisions," 2014 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2014, Philadelphia, PA, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 161654, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  17. Rajcaniova, Miroslava & Drabik, Dusan & Ciaian, Pavel, 2013. "How policies affect international biofuel price linkages," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 857-865.

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