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The Long Run Impact of Biofuels on Food Prices

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  • Chakravorty, Ujjayant

    (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Hubert, Marie-Helene

    (Economics and Management Research Centre)

  • Nostbakken, Linda

    (University of Alberta School of Business)

Abstract

More than 40% of US grain is now used to produce biofuels, which are used as substitutes for gasoline in transportation. Biofuels have been blamed universally for recent increases in world food prices. 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 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 show 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

  • Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Hubert, Marie-Helene & Nostbakken, Linda, 2012. "The Long Run Impact of Biofuels on Food Prices," Working Papers 2012-11, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2012_011
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    Cited by:

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    3. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Marie‐Hélène Hubert & Beyza Ural Marchand, 2019. "Food for fuel: The effect of the US biofuel mandate on poverty in India," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(3), pages 1153-1193, July.
    4. Yuehjen E. Shao & Jun-Ting Dai, 2018. "Integrated Feature Selection of ARIMA with Computational Intelligence Approaches for Food Crop Price Prediction," Complexity, Hindawi, vol. 2018, pages 1-17, July.
    5. 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.
    6. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Moreaux, Michel, 2018. "Competing Land Uses and Fossil Fuel, Optimal Energy Conversion Rates During the Transition Toward a Green Economy Under a Pollution Stock Constraint," TSE Working Papers 18-981, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    7. Duc Hong Vo & Tan Ngoc Vu & Anh The Vo & Michael McAleer, 2019. "Modeling the Relationship between Crude Oil and Agricultural Commodity Prices," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(7), pages 1-41, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Bilgili, Faik & Koçak, Emrah & Kuşkaya, Sevda & Bulut, Ümit, 2020. "Estimation of the co-movements between biofuel production and food prices: A wavelet-based analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 213(C).
    10. Palacio-Ciro, Santiago & Vasco-Correa, Carlos Andrés, 2020. "Biofuels policy in Colombia: A reconfiguration to the sugar and palm sectors?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    11. 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.
    12. Defante, Lilliane Renata & Vilpoux, Olivier François & Sauer, Leandro, 2018. "Rapid expansion of sugarcane crop for biofuels and influence on food production in the first producing region of Brazil," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 121-131.
    13. Eissa, Mohamad Abdelaziz & Al Refai, Hisham, 2019. "Modelling the symmetric and asymmetric relationships between oil prices and those of corn, barley, and rapeseed oil," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    14. Brinkman, Marnix L.J. & Wicke, Birka & Faaij, André P.C. & van der Hilst, Floor, 2019. "Projecting socio-economic impacts of bioenergy: Current status and limitations of ex-ante quantification methods," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    15. Mattias, Gaglio & Elena, Tamburini & Giuseppe, Castaldelli & Anna, Fano Elisa, 2021. "Modeling the ecosystem service of agricultural residues provision for bioenergy production: A potential application in the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy)," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 451(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    clean energy; food demand; land quality; renewable fuel standards; transportation;
    All these keywords.

    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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