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The Theory of Biofuel Policy and Food Grain Prices

  • Drabik, Dusan

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.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/126615
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Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 126615.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:126615
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Drabik, Dusan & de Gorter, Harry & Just, David R., 2010. "The Implications of Alternative Biofuel Policies on Carbon Leakage," Working Papers 126975, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  5. 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.
  6. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2011. "Some Inconvenient Truths About Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies," NBER Working Papers 17386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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