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Identifying Supply and Demand Elasticities of Agricultural Commodities: Implications for the US Ethanol Mandate

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  • Michael J. Roberts
  • Wolfram Schlenker

Abstract

We present a new framework to identify supply elasticities of storable commodities where past shocks are used as exogenous price shifters. In the agricultural context, past yield shocks change inventory levels and futures prices of agricultural commodities. We use our estimated elasticities to evaluate the impact of the 2009 Renewable Fuel Standard on commodity prices, quantities, and food consumers' surplus for the four basic staples: corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat. Prices increase 20 percent if one-third of commodities used to produce ethanol are recycled as feedstock, with a positively skewed 95 percent confidence interval that ranges from 14 to 35 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Roberts & Wolfram Schlenker, 2013. "Identifying Supply and Demand Elasticities of Agricultural Commodities: Implications for the US Ethanol Mandate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2265-2295, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:6:p:2265-95
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.6.2265
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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