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Estimating the Influence of Ethanol Policy on Plant Investment Decisions: A Real Options Analysis with Two Stochastic Variables

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  • Schmit, Todd M.
  • Luo, Jianchuan
  • Conrad, Jon M.

Abstract

Ethanol policies have contributed to changes in the levels and the volatilities of revenues and costs facing ethanol firms. The implications of these policies for optimal investment behavior are investigated through an extension of the real options framework that allows for the consideration of volatility in both revenue and cost components, as well as the correlation between them. The effects of policy affecting plant revenues dominate the effects of those policies affecting production costs. In the absence of these policies, much of the recent expansionary periods would have not existed and market conditions in the late-1990s would have led to some plant closures. We also show that, regardless of plant size, national ethanol policy has narrowed the distance between the optimal entry and exit curves, implying a more narrow range of inactivity and a more volatile evolution for the industry than would have existed otherwise.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmit, Todd M. & Luo, Jianchuan & Conrad, Jon M., 2010. "Estimating the Influence of Ethanol Policy on Plant Investment Decisions: A Real Options Analysis with Two Stochastic Variables," Working Papers 126963, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:126963
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.126963
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/126963/files/Cornell_Dyson_wp1010.pdf
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    3. Ye, Fanglin & Paulson, Nicholas & Khanna, Madhu, 2014. "Technology uncertainty and learning by doing in the cellulosic biofuel investment," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169789, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
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    5. Markel, Evan & Sims, Charles & English, Burton C., 2016. "Examining the effects of uncertainty on second-generation biofuel investment by using a two stochastic process approach," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235827, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Maxwell, Christian & Davison, Matt, 2014. "Using real option analysis to quantify ethanol policy impact on the firm's entry into and optimal operation of corn ethanol facilities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 140-151.
    7. Monge, Juan J. & Ribera, Luis A. & Jifon, John L. & da Silva, Jorge A. & Richardson, James W., 2014. "Economics and Uncertainty of Lignocellulosic Biofuel Production from Energy Cane and Sweet Sorghum in South Texas," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 457-485, November.
    8. Gonzalez, Asa O. & Karali, Berna & Wetzstein, Michael E., 2012. "A public policy aid for bioenergy investment: Case study of failed plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 465-473.
    9. Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Yi, Fujin, 2012. "Ethanol Plant Investment in Canada: A Structural Model," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt7vd043zr, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    10. McCarty, Tanner & Sesmero, Juan, 2014. "Uncertainty, Irreversibility, and Investment in Second-Generation Biofuels," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 179201, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Ghoddusi, Hamed, 2017. "Blending under uncertainty: Real options analysis of ethanol plants and biofuels mandates," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 110-120.
    12. Yi, Fujin & Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Thome, Karen, 2013. "An Analysis of the Effects of Government Subsidies and the Renewable Fuels Standard on the Fuel Ethanol Industry: A Structural Econometric Model," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150224, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Juan P. Sesmero & Richard K. Perrin & Lilyan E. Fulginiti, 2016. "A Variable Cost Function for Corn Ethanol Plants in the Midwest," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 64(3), pages 565-587, September.
    14. Xian, Hui & Karali, Berna & Colson, Gregory & Wetzstein, Michael E., 2015. "Diesel or compressed natural gas? A real options evaluation of the U.S. natural gas boom on fuel choice for trucking fleets," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 90(P2), pages 1342-1348.
    15. Torani, Kiran & Rausser, Gordon & Zilberman, David, 2016. "Innovation subsidies versus consumer subsidies: A real options analysis of solar energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 255-269.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agribusiness; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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