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Input-Outrageous: The Economic Impacts of Modern Biofuels Production


  • Swenson, David A.


Measuring the net economic impacts of ethanol plants has been problematical: access to good industrial accounts is limited, the sector has historically gone through volatile swings, regional logistical responses to a plant beyond corn inputs are not well understood, and the sector is currently expanding rapidly. In the current uncertain energy world, the prices paid for inputs and received for outputs are also volatile. There exists quite a bit of confusion about the overall value of this dimension of value added agricultural processing to local, regional, and national accounts. There is a tendency for advocates to overstate, over-describe, and outright double-count economic activity linked to ethanol and other biofuels production. This paper presents the findings of a modeled ethanol plant configuration in a hypothetical three-county region in Iowa. (Modified slightly since first posted in June, 2006, to include language and technical corrections)

Suggested Citation

  • Swenson, David A., 2006. "Input-Outrageous: The Economic Impacts of Modern Biofuels Production," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12644, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12644

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    Cited by:

    1. Low, Sarah A. & Isserman, Andrew M., 2008. "Ethanol: Implications for Rural Communities," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6157, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Sievers, Luisa & Schaffer, Axel, 2016. "The impacts of the German biofuel quota on sectoral domestic production and imports of the German economy," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 497-505.
    3. Danny G. Le Roy & Kurt K. Klein, 2012. "The Policy Objectives of a Biofuel Industry in Canada: An Assessment," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-16, December.
    4. GarcĂ­a, Carlos A. & Manzini, Fabio & Islas, Jorge M., 2017. "Sustainability assessment of ethanol production from two crops in Mexico," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1199-1207.
    5. Lester, T. William & Little, Mark G. & Jolley, G. Jason, 2015. "Assessing the Economic Impact of Alternative Biomass Uses: Biofuels, Wood Pellets, and Energy Production," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 45(1).
    6. Saunders, Caroline & Kaye-Blake, William & Marshall, Liz & Greenhalgh, Suzie & de Aragao Pereira, Mariana, 2009. "Impacts of a United States' biofuel policy on New Zealand's agricultural sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3448-3454, September.
    7. Andrian, Leandro Gaston, 2010. "Essays on energy economics: Microeconomic and macroeconomic dimensions," ISU General Staff Papers 201001010800002725, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General

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