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The Impact of Biofuel Policies on Crop Acreages in Germany and France

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Journal of Agricultural Economics

Published online on


A major concern about biofuels is that increasing biofuel feedstock demand reduces availability of crops for food and feed leading to higher food prices. This paper investigates relations between biofuel policies and prices of rapeseed, the major feedstock used for biodiesel production in Europe, and the impact of rapeseed prices on crop acreages in Germany and France. Biodiesel is an important biofuel in Europe, and Germany and France are the largest biodiesel producers in Europe. First, the various biofuel policies in Germany and France are discussed, followed by an analysis of their effects on rapeseed prices. Although theory indicates that such effects exist, we could not find empirical evidence for them. Second, using regional land use panel data from Germany and France we investigate empirically whether crop shares have been affected by rapeseed prices in the period 2000–2015 and whether these price effects changed because of biofuel policy changes. Results show that wheat shares in Germany and France did respond to rapeseed prices, but barley shares did not. Moreover, mandatory blending introduced in Germany in 2007 and production quotas introduced in France in 2005 led to a stronger effect of rapeseed prices on wheat shares, but again did not affect barley shares.