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Invited Paper Sessions

Invited Paper sessions are selected by the AAEA President and two additional Board members based on proposals submitted by AAEA members. These sessions are chosen because they may appeal to a broad spectrum of meeting attendees, further the development and dissemination of systematic knowledge in the field of agricultural and applied economics, and/or generate meaningful conversation. Invited Paper sessions generally involve 2-3 paper presentations and ample opportunity for discussion.  Invited papers may also be published in the proceedings issue of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Invited Paper Sessions are concurrent sessions. Each concurrent session is 90 minutes in duration. Other concurrent sessions include, Selected Paper Sessions, Lightning Sessions, Organized Symposia, Track Sessions, and Invited Case Study Session.


A decade of experience with renewable fuel policies and new realities

A decade has elapsed since the adoption of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which calls for the consumption of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. During the same period, biofuels polices were adopted in more than 60 countries worldwide. Mandatory blending of biofuel with oil products, subsidies for blending biofuel, excise tax exemptions, investment tax credits, government loan guarantees and tariffs on biofuel imports are some of the different types of policies that have been employed in support of biofuels worldwide. These policies were adopted during a time of growing oil scarcity, worsening balance of trade, stagnant rural economy and last but not least growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions. Spurred by these efforts, global biofuel production, specifically, ethanol (from corn and sugarcane) and biodiesel (from edible plant oils), has witnessed about a four-fold growth, from 35 billion liters in the year 2005 to 130 billion liters in 2015.

This session will comprise of presentations of the three following papers, which will analyze renewable fuel policies from different perspectives, and in light of the new realities.

  1. Intended and Unintended Consequences of U. S. Renewable Fuel Policies
    Wallace Tyner, Purdue University
  2. Lessons from the use of life cycle assessment for measuring GHG benefits of biofuel policies
    Deepak Rajagopal, University of California, Los Angeles
  3. What have we learnt about food vs fuel
    David Zilberman, University of California, Berkeley

Organizer(s): Deepak Rajagopal, University of California, Los Angeles
Moderator: Deepak Rajagopal, University of California, Los Angeles
Discussant: Madhu Khanna, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cutting Edge Behavioral and Empirical Issues in Food Choice Analysis

Economists and market researchers are increasingly interested in determining people’s valuations for new goods and services. CE is now one of the most popular methods used to elicit people’s preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for both market and non-market goods. Despite obvious advantages the methodology affords to researchers, there are still a number of unresolved issues. For instance, data quality is particularly important in online CE surveys, since some of the data collection methods in these surveys offer researchers a relatively low degree of control. The inclusion of poorly behaving respondents that fraudulently enter online surveys and do not pay attention to the survey questions could severely compromise CE data. In addition, the hypothetical nature of the choice as well as the assumptions required in preference estimation remain areas of vulnerability. This session is dedicated to strengthening the robustness of the approach. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to explore methods to reduce measurement error due to participant inattention during CE surveys, the nature of behavioral processes behind respondents’ choices and the methods and estimation procedures used to avoid potential biases. The papers of the proposed session address three critical problems that can potentially result in failures to reliably measure food preferences with CE: (1) measurement error due inattention bias; (2) consumer behavioral biases, and (3) behavioral relevance of different discrete choice model specifications.

This session will comprise of presentations of the three following papers:

  1. Measurement Error Matters: A Method for Determining Participant Inattention in Discrete Choice
    Trey Malone, Oklahoma State University
  2. E-commerce and Food Choices in China: Empirical Evidence on the Efficacy of ex-ante Calibration Methods, Decision-making Heuristics and Reference Prices
    David Ortega, Michigan State University
  3. Discrete Choice Models in Preference Space vs. Willingness to Pay Space: An Empirical Investigation on Food Choices
    Vincenzina Caputo, Michigan State University

Organizer(s): David Ortega, Michigan State University, Vincenzina Caputo, Michigan State University
Moderator: Rodolfo Nayga, University of Arkansas
Discussant: Riccardo Scarpa, Queens University - Belfast

A New Look at the Ethanol Blend Wall: Contributing Factors, Welfare Impacts and the World Beyond

U.S. biofuels policy is at a crossroads. The ratification of the Paris accords highlights an unprecedented international commitment to fighting climate change. At the same time, the feasibility of increasing biofuel mandate levels as a means towards reduced transportation sector emissions has been put into question by a lack of sufficient ethanol demand side infrastructure. How important are the required investments from a social welfare perspective and who should be required to make them? This session analyzes the ethanol blend wall from three perspectives: the dynamic aspects that contribute to its existence, its short term impacts which disproportionally affect consumers of diesel fuels, and the environmental and welfare gains that lie beyond. It thereby seeks to provide novel insights to all participants invested in shaping the path towards a cleaner economy.

This session will comprise of presentations of the three following papers:

  1. Designing Good Climate Policy: Lessons from the Renewable Fuel Standard and the Blend Wall
    Gabriel E. Lade, Iowa State University; C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, University of California-Davis; Aaron Smith, University of California-Davis
  2. How Much Pain Will the Ethanol Blend Wall Inflict on Diesel Fuel Consumers?
    Christina Korting, Cornell University; Harry de Gorter, Cornell University
  3. The Value of Tearing Down the (Blend) Wall: Some Welfare Impacts of the RFS2
    GianCarlo Moschini, Iowa State University; Harvey Lapan, Iowa State University; Hyunseok Kim, Iowa State University

Organizer: Harry de Gorter, Cornell University
Moderator: Anthony Radich, USDA Office of the Chief Economist
Discussant: Sebastien Pouliot, Iowa State University

Physiological Measurement in Economics Experiments

Physiological measures are increasingly being used in economic research to supplement and enrich the analysis and interpretation of more conventional behavioral data. The three papers in this session employ novel measurement technologies (salivary cortisol as a measure of stress, eye-tracking as a measure of attention, and continuous blood glucose response as a measure of addictiveness). All three are aimed at addressing important public health problems, with the potential for direct policy implications. We expect that this use of novel and cutting-edge technologies to address topics of pronounced public interest will attract a large audience at the meetings in Chicago.

This session will comprise of presentations of the three following papers:

  1. Mind, Behaviour and Health: A Randomised Experiment
    Michele Belot, University of Edinburgh
  2. The effects of numeracy on visual attention towards the new Nutrition Facts Panel
    Carola Grebitus, Arizona State University
  3. Is Fast Food Addictive? Evidence from an experiment utilizing continuous glucose monitoring
    Trenton G. Smith, University of Otago

Organizer(s): Trenton G. Smith, University of Otago (New Zealand)
Moderator: Julie Caswell, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Discussant: Brian Roe, The Ohio State University

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