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The Long-Run Impact of Biofuel on Food Prices

Author

Listed:
  • Ujjayant Chakravorty

    () (Department of Economics, Tufts University (TSE, CESifo))

  • Marie-Hélène Hubert

    () (CREM, Department of Economics, University of Rennes 1)

  • Michel Moreaux

    () (Toulouse School of Economics (IDEI, LERNA))

  • Linda Nostbakken

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

More than 40% of US corn is now used to produce biofuels, which are used as substitutes for gasoline in transportation. Biofuels have been blamed universally for past increases in world food prices, and many studies have shown that these energy mandates in the US and EU may have a large (30-60%) impact on food prices. In this paper, we use a partial equilibrium framework to show that demand-side effects – in the form of population growth and income-driven preferences for meat and dairy products rather than cereals – may play as much of a role in raising food prices as biofuel policy. By specifying a Ricardian model with differential land quality, we find that a significant amount of new land will be converted to farming, which is likely to cause a modest increase in food prices. However, biofuels may increase aggregate world carbon emissions, due to leakage from lower oil prices and conversion of pasture and forest land for farming.

Suggested Citation

  • Ujjayant Chakravorty & Marie-Hélène Hubert & Michel Moreaux & Linda Nostbakken, 2015. "The Long-Run Impact of Biofuel on Food Prices," Policy Papers 2015.04, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:fae:ppaper:2015.04
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Moreaux, Michel, 2016. "The Joint Dynamics of the Energy Mix, Land Uses and Energy Efficiency Rates During the Transition Toward the Green Economy," TSE Working Papers 16-625, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    2. Bahel, Eric & Marrouch, Walid & Gaudet, Gérard, 2013. "The economics of oil, biofuel and food commodities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 599-617.
    3. Yongyang Cai & Kenneth Judd & Jevgenijs Steinbuks, 2017. "A nonlinear certainty equivalent approximation method for dynamic stochastic problems," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(1), pages 117-147, March.
    4. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Marie-Hélène Hubert & Beyza Ural Marchand, 2012. "Food for Fuel: The Effect of the U.S. Biofuel Mandate on Poverty in India," CESifo Working Paper Series 3910, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2013. "Unintended Consequences of Transportation Carbon Policies: Land-Use, Emissions, and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 19636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Marie-Hélène Hubert & Beyza Ural Marchand, 2016. "The effect of the US biofuels mandate on poverty in India," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2016-13, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Clean Energy; Food Demand; Land Quality; Renewable Fuel Standards; Transportation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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