IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Brazil's sugarcane sector : a case of lost opportunity


  • Borrell, Brent
  • Bianco, Jose R.
  • Bale, Malcolm D.


The Brazilian sugar and ethanol story goes like this: direct market intervention overrides market forces. Markets undergo dramatic change. Intervention establishes vested interests. Rent-seeking blocks adjustment to market change. Economic objectives become blurred behind political objectives. Opportunities go begging. Industry profitability suffers. And national income is forgone. The authors use a simple economic model of the Brazilian sugarcane sector and policy interventions to measure the costs of existing policies and to develop better policies. Brazil is an efficient producer of sugar, but policy intervention has caused: (a) underproduction of sugar cane (too much ethanol, not enough sugar); (b) missed opportunities to market ethanol in high-value uses (as an octane enhancer and clean fuel); (c)missed opportunities to make the world sugar market more competitive. Adopting more market-based policies could be worth billions of additional dollars annually to Brazil.

Suggested Citation

  • Borrell, Brent & Bianco, Jose R. & Bale, Malcolm D., 1994. "Brazil's sugarcane sector : a case of lost opportunity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1363, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1363

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Larson, Donald F. & Borrell, Brent, 2001. "Sugar policy and reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2602, The World Bank.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1363. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.