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The Long Run Impact of Biofuels on Food Prices

  • Chakravorty, Ujjayant

    ()

    (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Hubert, Marie-Helene

    (Economics and Management Research Centre)

  • Nostbakken, Linda

    ()

    (University of Alberta School of Business)

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.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ualberta.ca/~/media/economics/FacultyAndStaff/WPs/WP2012-11-Chakravorty-Hubert-Nostbakken
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Paper provided by University of Alberta, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-11.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 01 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2012_011
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  1. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magné, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2006. "A Dynamic Model of Food and Clean Energy," IDEI Working Papers 403, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Antonio M. Bento & Lawrence H. Goulder & Mark R. Jacobsen & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased US Gasoline Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 667-99, June.
  3. Harry de Gorter & David R. Just, 2010. "The Social Costs and Benefits of Biofuels: The Intersection of Environmental, Energy and Agricultural Policy," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 32(1), pages 4-32.
  4. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magne, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2009. "Endogenous Resource Substitution under a Climate Stabilization Policy: Can Nuclear Power Provide Clean Energy?," Working Papers 2009-19, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2010.
  5. Chen, Xiaoguang & Huang, Haixiao & Khanna, Madhu, 2011. "Land Use and Greenhouse Gas Implications of Biofuels: Role of Technology and Policy," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103216, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Thomas W. Hertel & Wallace E. Tyner & Dileep K. Birur, 2010. "The Global Impacts of Biofuel Mandates," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 75-100.
  7. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Ruttan, Vernon W., 2002. "Productivity Growth In World Agriculture: Sources And Constraints," Staff Papers 14176, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  9. Keyzer, M.A. & Merbis, M.D. & Pavel, I.F.P.W. & van Wesenbeeck, C.F.A., 2005. "Diet shifts towards meat and the effects on cereal use: can we feed the animals in 2030?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 187-202, November.
  10. Anselm Eisentraut, 2010. "Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels: Potential and Perspectives in Major Economies and Developing Countries," IEA Energy Papers 2010/1, OECD Publishing.
  11. Catherine Hausman & Maximilian Auffhammer & Peter Berck, 2012. "Farm Acreage Shocks and Crop Prices: An SVAR Approach to Understanding the Impacts of Biofuels," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(1), pages 117-136, September.
  12. Mark W. Rosegrant & Tingju Zhu & Siwa Msangi & Timothy Sulser, 2008. "Global Scenarios for Biofuels: Impacts and Implications ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 495-505.
  13. Gouel, Christophe & Hertel, Thomas, 2006. "Introducing Forest Access Cost Functions into a General Equilibrium Model," GTAP Research Memoranda 2215, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  14. Rajagopal, Deepak & Zilberman, David, 2007. "Review of environmental, economic and policy aspects of biofuels," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4341, The World Bank.
  15. Cranfield, J. A. L. & Preckel, Paul V. & Eales, James S. & Hertel, Thomas W., 2002. "Estimating consumer demands across the development spectrum: maximum likelihood estimates of an implicit direct additivity model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 289-307, August.
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