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The Economics of Biofuels


  • Lundgren, Tommy
  • Marklund, Per-Olov
  • Brannlund, Runar
  • Kristrom, Bengt


Biofuels are increasingly regarded as energy sources with the potential to solve diverse problems related to serious concerns, including climate change, environmental degradation, energy supply, and energy security. Here we examine biofuels, primarily biofuels used for transportation (e.g., ethanol and biodiesel), through the lens of modern resource economics and address fundamental questions, such as: Why biofuels? We then review some of the relevant literature and present a framework for analysis drawn mainly from the green accounting literature. The literature reviewed indicates that the effects of policies promoting conversion from fossil fuels to biofuels do not necessarily promote welfare. Our theoretical framework provides indications of possible reasons for this. Based on findings obtained using the framework we propose policies that not only penalize emissions of CO 2 from all sources, but also stimulate biomass growth. Finally, we identify issues for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundgren, Tommy & Marklund, Per-Olov & Brannlund, Runar & Kristrom, Bengt, 2008. "The Economics of Biofuels," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 237-280, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jirere:101.00000017

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    Cited by:

    1. Bayramoglu, Basak, 2008. "Efficiency of a Biofuel Subsidy Policy in the Presence of Environmental Externalities," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44399, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Eriksson, Mathilda, 2016. "The Role of the Forest in Climate Policy," Umeå Economic Studies 927, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    3. Lundgren, Tommy & Marklund, Per-Olov, 2011. "Assessing the welfare effects of promoting biomass growth and the use of bioenergy – A simple back-of-an-envelope calculation," CERE Working Papers 2011:11, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
    4. Henk Folmer, 2009. "OPEC versus Kyoto by Henk Folmer," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(3), pages 23-29, October.
    5. Tuohy, Aidan & Bazilian, Morgan & Doherty, Ronan & Gallachóir, Brian Ó & O'Malley, Mark, 2009. "Burning peat in Ireland: An electricity market dispatch perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3035-3042, August.

    More about this item


    Biofuels; Environmental policy; Green accounting; Welfare economics;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth


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