Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Public Policy


Alvaro Durand-Morat

Committee Member

Michael Popp

Second Committee Member

William Schreckhise


Biofuels, Law, Public Policy, Renewable Energy, Sustainability


Brazil has the largest sugarcane acreage in the world (FAOSTAT, 2020) and is the world leader in the production of sugarcane-based ethanol (Sousa Junior et al., 2017). Due to the technical experience in the production of biofuels and the availability of sugarcane straw and bagasse, the country has a great potential to commercially produce second-generation ethanol (E2G) (Nyko et. al., 2010). In 2017, Brazil enacted a new National Biofuels Policy, called RenovaBio, to expand the production and use of biofuels in the country. This dissertation combines three essays that explore biofuels law and policy with a special focus on Brazil. The first essay analyzed biofuel policy uncertainty, which is one of the main issues impeding the development of biofuels globally (Tyner, 2010). Specifically, the essay systematically reviewed select public policy literature that addresses biofuel policy uncertainty, as it appears in peer-reviewed scholarly journals between 2008 and 2018 in English and in Portuguese. The 33 journal articles identified in this literature review share a common thread in that they all engage, to varying degrees, the ways that uncertainty affects biofuels. I have found that, even though biofuel policy uncertainty has increasingly been given more attention by researchers in recent years, the focus of their analyses is on the U.S., Germany, and Canada. Thus, it is suggested that more research on biofuel policy uncertainty is needed in important countries for biofuel production.

The second essay analyzed the ethanol law and policy in Brazil, and the policy-making process RenovaBio, through the lenses of the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF) developed by John Kingdon (2011). The factors, events, and policy actors at play in the policymaking process of RenovaBio were investigated through the use of primary and secondary sources of data comprised mainly of legal and government documents, books, journal articles, and survey data collected for this study. The separate examination of the problem, policy, and political streams within Kingdon’s MSF provided a useful framework for reconstructing the conditions for the enactment of RenovaBio.

The last essay examined the current situation of second-generation ethanol (E2G) in Brazil to assess consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for E2G. A survey was conducted with consumers in 24 Brazilian states to collect data on consumers’ WTP for E2G, driving patterns, knowledge about biofuels, acceptance of relevant government policies in the biofuels sector, and demographic characteristics. A dichotomous-choice contingent valuation methodology was used to estimate WTP for E2G and investigate factors that affect consumer choice. The findings indicated that, on average, Brazilian consumers are willing to purchase E2G at an 11 percent premium price compared to conventional fuel. In addition, results suggested that consumers who are generally more knowledgeable about biofuels and have a higher income are more likely to pay a premium for E2G.