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Statistical Evaluation of the Effect of Ethanol in US Corn Production: A Flexible Test for Independence on a Constrained Sum

Kobi Abayomi, Dexin Luo, Valerie M. Thomas


We investigate the effect of ethanol (biofuel) production on competing uses for corn through a case study of U.S. corn production. Currently, agricultural models are used to estimate the effect of biofuel production on crop production and, correspondingly, land use change. These models can potentially be validated with statistical analysis of changes in crop use. Standard statistical methods are inappropriate, however, because the uses of an agricultural crop are constrained: total crop use is always the sum of the constituents. We develop a general method for these compositional distributions, and apply this method to determine competition between ethanol feedstock production and other alternate products of corn. We find evidence of competition among the constituents of corn yield, particularly with respect to ethanol production.


Empirical Copula, Multivariate Dependence, Liouville Distribution, Multivariate Kolmogorov Smirnov Distance, Biofuel, Land Use Change, Ethanol

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