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Hitaj C.,Economic Research Service
Energy Policy | Year: 2015

Many governments offer subsidies for renewable power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector. However, most support schemes for renewable power do not take into account that emissions depend on the location of renewable and conventional power plants within an electricity grid. I simulate optimal power flow in a test grid when 4 renewable power plants connect to the grid across 24 potential sites, amounting to over 10,000 configurations. Each configuration is associated with different levels of emissions and renewable power output. I find that emission reductions vary by a factor of 7 and that curtailment due to transmission congestion is more likely when renewable power plants are concentrated in an area of the grid with low demand. Large cost savings could be obtained by allowing subsidies for renewable power to vary across locations according to abatement potential or by replacing subsidies with a price on emissions. © 2015.

McPhail L.L.,Economic Research Service
Energy Economics | Year: 2011

Despite the growing importance of biofuels, the effect of biofuels on fossil fuel markets is not fully understood. We develop a joint structural Vector Auto Regression (VAR) model of the global crude oil, US gasoline, and US ethanol markets to examine whether the US ethanol market has had any impact on global oil markets. The structural VAR approach provides a unique method for decomposing price and quantity data into demand and supply shocks, allowing us to estimate the distinct dynamic effects of ethanol demand and supply shocks on the real prices of crude oil and US gasoline. Ethanol demand in the US is driven mainly by government support in the form of tax credits and blending mandates. Shocks to ethanol demand therefore reflect changes in policy more than any other factor. In contrast, ethanol supply shocks are driven by changes in feedstock prices. A principle finding is that a policy-driven ethanol demand expansion causes a statistically significant decline in real crude oil prices, while an ethanol supply expansion does not have a statistically significant impact on real oil prices. This suggests that even though US ethanol market is small, the influence of US biofuels policy on the crude oil market is pervasive. We also show that ethanol demand shocks are more important than ethanol supply shocks in explaining the fluctuation of real prices of crude oil and US gasoline. © 2011.

Wojan T.R.,Economic Research Service
Regional Studies | Year: 2016

Metaphors of regional policy: cities as engines, multilevel governance in gardens. Regional Studies. Recent work in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology suggests a much greater communicative role for metaphor: good metaphor links a paradigmatic way of knowing the world with our hard-wired programmes for surviving in it. From this perspective, the engines-of-growth metaphor underlying the World Bank’s World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography (2009) naturalizes the new economic geography paradigm. In contrast, the alternative place-based approach espoused in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Promoting Growth in All Regions (2012) remains largely inaccessible to laypersons. The productiveness of a garden metaphor for linking the place-based paradigm to some primitive functions is assessed. © 2016, Routledge. All rights reserved.

Objective: To estimate the effect of the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the food security (consistent access to adequate food) of recipients, net of the effect of the self-selection of more food-needy households into the programme. Design: The food security of current SNAP recipients and recent leavers is compared in cross-sectional survey data, adjusting for economic and demographic differences using multivariate logistic regression methods. A similar analysis in 2-year longitudinal panels provides additional control for selection on unobserved variables based on food security status in the previous year. Setting: Household survey data collected for the US Department of Agriculture by the US Census Bureau. Subjects: Households interviewed in the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplements from 2001 to 2009. Results: The odds of very low food security among households that continued on SNAP through the end of a survey year were 28 % lower than among those that left SNAP prior to the 30-d period during which food security was assessed. In 2-year panels with controls for the severity of food insecurity in the previous year, the difference in odds was 45 %. Conclusions: The results are consistent with, or somewhat higher than, the estimates from the strongest previous research designs and suggest that the ameliorative effect of SNAP on very low food security is in the range of 20-50 %.

El-Osta H.S.,Economic Research Service
Agricultural Finance Review | Year: 2010

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to use data from the 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey to assess the inequality in the distribution of farm family living expenditures. The impact on inequality of marginal increases in expenditure components with respect to aggregate expenditures is also addressed in the context of the life cycle and under various ‘‘equity’’ weights that reflect the extent to which society is averse to inequality. Design/methodology/approach – Inequality in the distribution of households’ equivalent-scale total expenditures E and of their K components is measured using the concept of the extended Gini coefficient (GE). Findings – Results show an unequal distribution of total expenditures, with ‘‘food including food away from home’’ and ‘‘clothing, personal care products, etc.’’ as the two expenditure items that are most suitable for either a subsidy or a tax-hike. No discernable statistical difference is found when the elasticities of expenditures were estimated across two distinct age-groups and across various levels of ‘‘equity’’ weights. Research limitations/implications – Research is based on cross-sectional data and does not allow for dynamic assessment of expenditure elasticities. Originality/value – The paper describes the use of an innovative non-parametric method to estimate expenditure elasticities among farm households. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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