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Book Talk: The Economics of Biofuel Policies: Impacts on Price Volatility in Grain and Oilseed Markets

Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160
Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

In 2007-2008, grain and oilseed prices tripled and increased even more in 2010-2011 and again in 2012-2013, reversing the long run decline in the real prices of food commodities and increasing price volatility. Unlike previous price booms that were followed by a bust, these increases have been a boom and a boom and a boom, but no bust. Why? 

In the new book The Economics of Biofuel Policies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Dyson School’s Harry de Gorter along with his co-authors explain why it is different this time – biofuel policies created a link between crop and biofuel prices for the first time ever. In particular, a change in the biofuel price translates into the corn price by a factor of four. Therefore, ethanol has a huge impact on corn (and other commodity) prices. The book is the first to put together a new theory of crop price determination and empirical evidence of how biofuel policies caused on average 80% of the crop price increase. 

Join us for a Chats in the Stacks book talk with Dr. Harry de Gorter to hear more about how biofuel policies have had the most profound impact on society, changing the way we analyze commodity prices and food security in developing countries. Biofuel policies generate a $1 billion per day subsidy to crop farmers and have profound impacts on the nearly 1 billion people who went to bed hungry every night BEFORE the price boom, and another 2 billion people who spend at least 50% of their income on basic foodstuffs.

Light refreshments served and books available for purchase. The book talk series at Mann Library is supported by the Mary A. Morrison Public Education Fund.

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