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Do Biofuel Mandates Raise Food Prices?

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Author Info

  • Ujjayant Chakravorty

    (University of Alberta and Toulouse School of Economics (INRA, LERNA))

  • Marie-Hélène Hubert

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM, (UMR 6211 CNRS))

  • Michel Moreaux

    (Toulouse School of Economics (IDEI, LERNA))

  • Linda Nøstbakken

    (Department of Marketing, Business Economics and Law, University of Alberta)

Abstract

Biofuels have received a lot of attention as a substitute for gasoline in transportation. They have been blamed universally for recent increases in world food prices. Both the United States and the European Union have adopted mandatory blending policies that require a sharp increase in their use. Many studies have shown that these energy mandates may have a large (30-60%) impact on food prices. We develop a model that takes into account dietary preferences - the fact that with rising incomes, people in the developing world will consume more meat and dairy products, which are land-intensive relative to cereals. On the supply side, we allow for conversion of new lands to farming. We show that about half the increase in food prices can be attributed to population growth and dietary changes, and only the remaining come from biofuel policy. Moreover, with endogenous land supply, food price increases are likely to be much smaller than predicted by other studies. Finally, these biofuel policies do not lead to any reduction in carbon emissions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS in its series Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) with number 201214.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201214

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Keywords: Clean Energy; Food Demand; Land Quality; Renewable Fuel Standards; Transportation;

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References

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  1. Hamelinck, Carlo N & Faaij, Andre P.C., 2006. "Outlook for advanced biofuels," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 3268-3283, November.
  2. Rajagopal, Deepak & Zilberman, David, 2007. "Review of environmental, economic and policy aspects of biofuels," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4341, The World Bank.
  3. Xiaoguang Chen & Haixiao Huang & Madhu Khanna, 2012. "Land-Use And Greenhouse Gas Implications Of Biofuels: Role Of Technology And Policy," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(03), pages 1250013-1-1.
  4. Martin Banse & Hans van Meijl & Andrzej Tabeau & Geert Woltjer, 2008. "Will EU biofuel policies affect global agricultural markets?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 117-141, June.
  5. Wiebe, Keith D., 2003. "Linking Land Quality, Agricultural Productivity, And Food Security," Agricultural Economics Reports 34073, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  6. Cranfield, J. A. L. & Preckel, Paul V. & Eales, James S. & Hertel, Thomas W., 2002. "Estimating consumer demands across the development spectrum: maximum likelihood estimates of an implicit direct additivity model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 289-307, August.
  7. Uwe Schneider & Bruce McCarl, 2003. "Economic Potential of Biomass Based Fuels for Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(4), pages 291-312, April.
  8. Don Fullerton & Garth Heutel, 2005. "The General Equilibrium Incidence of Environmental Taxes," NBER Working Papers 11311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gouel, Christophe & Hertel, Thomas, 2006. "Introducing Forest Access Cost Functions into a General Equilibrium Model," GTAP Research Memoranda 2215, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  10. Golub, Alla & Hertel, Thomas & Sohngen, Brent, 2008. "Land Use Modeling in Recursively-Dynamic GTAP Framework," GTAP Working Papers 2609, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  11. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magne, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2009. "Endogenous Resource Substitution under a Climate Stabilization Policy: Can Nuclear Power Provide Clean Energy?," Working Papers 2009-19, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2010.
  12. Bento, Antonio M. & Goulder, Lawrence H. & Jacobsen, Mark R. & von Haefen, Roger H., 2007. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased U.S. Gasoline Taxes," Working Papers 127021, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  13. Keyzer, M.A. & Merbis, M.D. & Pavel, I.F.P.W. & van Wesenbeeck, C.F.A., 2005. "Diet shifts towards meat and the effects on cereal use: can we feed the animals in 2030?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 187-202, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gal Hochman & Scott Kaplan & Deepak Rajagopal & David Zilberman, 2012. "Biofuel and Food-Commodity Prices," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 272-281, September.
  2. Koliai, Lyes & Avouyi-Dovi, Sanvi & Ano Sujithan, Kuhanathan, 2014. "On the determinants of food price volatility," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12798, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Gbadebo Oladosu & Siwa Msangi, 2013. "Biofuel-Food Market Interactions: A Review of Modeling Approaches and Findings," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 53-71, February.

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