Mandatory Demand as a Policy Instrument: The Case of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Biofuel Program
31 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2012 Last revised: 21 Aug 2012
Date Written: June 13, 2012
The U.S. Congress established the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, which mandates a certain volume of biofuel consumption from 2006-2022, in an effort to enhance U.S. energy security, reduce transportation-related GHG emissions, and stimulate rural economic development. In this Paper, we assess the RFS from the viewpoint of industrial policy and provide the first empirical study addressing whether the RFS is an effective policy instrument to incentivize the development of the nascent biofuels industry. Our analysis focuses on data associated with the first-generation bioethanol industry and suggests that the RFS contributes to increasing economies of scale and improving the competition level among existing firms. More specifically, our empirical analysis suggests that: (1) the RFS has a positive significant effect on the capacity of first-generation bioethanol plants; and (2) the RFS positively affects the survival rate of first-generation bioethanol plants.
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