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The Theory of Biofuel Policy and Food Grain Prices

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  • Drabik, Dusan

Abstract

We develop an analytical framework to assess the market effects of alternative biofuel policies (including subsidies to feedstocks). U.S. corn-ethanol policies are used as an example to study the effects on corn prices. We determine the ‘no policy’ ethanol price; analyze the implications for the ‘no policy’ corn price and resulting ‘water’ in the ethanol price premium due to policy; and generalize the unique interaction effects between mandates and tax credits to include ethanol and corn production subsidies. The effect of an ethanol price premium depends on the value of the ethanol by-product, the value of production subsidies, and where the world ethanol price is determined. U.S. corn-ethanol policies are a major reason for the increases in corn prices – an estimated increase of 26 – 45% in the period 2008 – 2011.

Suggested Citation

  • Drabik, Dusan, 2011. "The Theory of Biofuel Policy and Food Grain Prices," Working Papers 126615, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:126615
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.126615
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Drabik, Dusan & de Gorter, Harry & Just, David R., 2010. "The Implications of Alternative Biofuel Policies on Carbon Leakage," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 102689, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2015. "Some Inconvenient Truths about Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1052-1069, December.
    3. Harry de Gorter & David R. Just, 2008. "Water in the U.S. Ethanol Tax Credit and Mandate: Implications for Rectangular Deadweight Costs and the Corn-Oil Price Relationship," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 397-410.
    4. Eidman, Vernon R., 2007. "Economic Parameters for Corn Ethanol and Biodiesel Production," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 39(2), pages 1-12, August.
    5. Jingbo Cui & Harvey Lapan & GianCarlo Moschini & Joseph Cooper, 2011. "Welfare Impacts of Alternative Biofuel and Energy Policies," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1235-1256.
    6. Mallory, Mindy L. & Irwin, Scott H. & Hayes, Dermot J., 2012. "How market efficiency and the theory of storage link corn and ethanol markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2157-2166.
    7. Xiaoguang Chen & Madhu Khanna, 2017. "Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Implications of Biofuels: Role of Technology and Policy," Natural Resource Management and Policy, in: Madhu Khanna & David Zilberman (ed.), Handbook of Bioenergy Economics and Policy: Volume II, pages 213-237, Springer.
    8. Headey, Derek & Fan, Shenggen, 2010. "Reflections on the global food crisis: How did it happen? How has it hurt? And how can we prevent the next one?," Research reports 165, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Lapan, Harvey E. & Moschini, GianCarlo, 2009. "Biofuels policies and welfare: is the stick of mandates better than the carrot of subsidies?," ISU General Staff Papers 200906100700001138, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Brian D. Wright, 2011. "The Economics of Grain Price Volatility," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 32-58.
    11. Yano, Yuki & Blandford, David & Surry, Yves R., 2010. "The Impact of Feedstock Supply and Petroleum Price Variability on Domestic Biofuel and Feedstock Markets – The Case of the United States," Working Papers 58486, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
    12. Harry de Gorter & David R. Just, 2008. "The Economics of a Blend Mandate for Biofuels," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(3), pages 738-750.
    13. Hochman, Gal & Rajagopal, Deepak & Timilsina, Govinda & Zilberman, David, 2011. "The role of inventory adjustments in quantifying factors causing food price inflation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5744, The World Bank.
    14. Harry de Gorter & David R. Just, 2007. "The Welfare Economics of a Biofuel Tax Credit and the Interaction Effects with Price Contingent Farm Subsidies," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(2), pages 477-488.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher R. Knittel and Aaron Smith, 2015. "Ethanol Production and Gasoline Prices: A Spurious Correlation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    2. Dusan Drabik & Pavel Ciaian & Jan Pokrivcak, 2014. "Biofuels and Vertical Price Transmission: The Case of the U.S. Corn, Ethanol, and Food Markets," LICOS Discussion Papers 35114, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    3. Drabik, Dušan & de Gorter, Harry, 2013. "Emissions from Indirect Land Use Change: Do they Matter with Fuel Market Leakages?," Review of Agricultural and Applied Economics (RAAE), Faculty of Economics and Management, Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra, vol. 16(2), pages 1-13, September.
    4. de Gorter, Harry & Rausser, Gordon C., 2013. "US Policy Contributions to Agricultural Commodity Price Fluctuations, 2006-12," WIDER Working Paper Series 033, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Drabik, Dusan & de Gorter, Harry & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2014. "The effect of biodiesel policies on world biodiesel and oilseed prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 80-88.
    6. de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2013. "Should Zambia produce biodiesel from soybeans ? some insights from an empirical analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6498, The World Bank.
    7. de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan, 2015. "Developing Countries' Policy Responses to Food Price Boom and Biofuel Policies," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211564, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Hakan Eggert & Mads Greaker, 2014. "Promoting Second Generation Biofuels: Does the First Generation Pave the Road?," Energies, MDPI, vol. 7(7), pages 1-16, July.
    9. Pinstrup-Andersen, Per (ed.), 2016. "Food Price Policy in an Era of Market Instability: A Political Economy Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198788836, Decembrie.
    10. Kristoufek, Ladislav & Janda, Karel & Zilberman, David, 2012. "Correlations between biofuels and related commodities before and during the food crisis: A taxonomy perspective," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1380-1391.
    11. Cooper, Kristen & de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan, 2012. "Welfare Effects of Biofuel Policies in the Presence of Fuel and Labor Taxes," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124763, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Drabik, Dušan & Ciaian, Pavel & Pokrivčák, Ján, 2016. "The effect of ethanol policies on the vertical price transmission in corn and food markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 189-199.
    13. 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.

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