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The application of modern biotechnology to crop and food production is one of the most significant technological advances to impact modern agriculture. Barely a dozen years since their introduction, genetically modified (GM) crops are currently grown on more than 300 million acres worldwide. GM (or transgenic) crops are produced using plant biotechnology to select desirable characteristics in plants and transfer genes from one organism to another. As a result, crops can survive under harsher conditions, costs are lowered, and yields are improved. Scientists are introducing genes into plants that will give the plants resistance to herbicides, insects, disease, drought, and salt in the soil. Crop research in bioengineering is also aimed at improving the nutritional quality of food, such as providing healthier vegetable oils. Pharmaceutical and industrial crops (or “pharma” crops) are also on the horizon, with the potential to dramatically reduce drug production costs. Compared to traditional plant breeding, biotechnology can produce new varieties of plants more quickly and efficiently, and it can introduce desirable traits into plants that could not be established through conventional plant breeding techniques.
Genetically modified (GM) (or transgenic) crops are produced using plant biotechnology to select desirable characteristics in plants and transfer genes from one organism to another. As a result, crops can survive under harsher conditions, costs are lowered, chemical application is reduced, and yields are improved. Scientists are introducing genes into plants that will give them resistance to herbicides, insects, disease, drought, and salt in the soil. The application of modern biotechnology to crop and food production is one of the most significant technological advances to impact modern agriculture.
Purpose – The chapter examines the international welfare effects of biotech crop adoption, based on a transversal literature review and a case study of the introduction of…
Purpose – The chapter examines the international welfare effects of biotech crop adoption, based on a transversal literature review and a case study of the introduction of genetically modified (GM) food crops in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Methodology/approach – The analysis is based on (a) a review of lessons from the applied economic literature and (b) simulations using an improved multimarket, multicountry, computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, calibrated with productivity hypotheses formulated with local scientists in the four Asian countries.
Findings – Results from the analysis show that, in the absence of trade-related regulations, GM crop adoption generates economic gains for adopting countries and importing non-adopters, that domestic regulations at adopters and especially non-adopters can reduce these gains, and that import regulations in other countries can also affect gains for exporting adopters. The case study illustrates these conclusions, but it also shows that net importers will mostly benefit from adoption in their terms of trade, and that segregation of non-GM crops for export markets can be beneficial if it is not too costly.
Research limitations/implications – The use of a CGE model allows for accounting for cross-sectoral effects, and for regulations affecting bilateral trade flows, but it also has a number of limitations. The model used here, like the ones used in the other papers in the literature, is static, based on an aggregated representation of the global economy (GTAP database), and assumes perfect competition. This means that the absolute results of each scenario may not perfectly represent the actual welfare effects engendered by the adoption of biotech crops. Still, what matters here is the comparison of the relative welfare effects across countries and scenarios. The simulations are also done ex-ante, so, even if the model here was calibrated with country-based data, the results do depend on hypothetical assumptions about the performance of the selected technologies.
Originality/value of the paper – The chapter aims to illustrate the welfare effects generated by GM crops for adopters, non-adopters, in a segmented and regulated international market. Unlike other papers, the review section provides key transversal lessons from the literature, accounting for results from both partial equilibrium and CGE model studies. The empirical application focuses on four populous Asian countries that have been largely left out of the literature. The model used in the simulation presents a number of improvement from the CGE literature on GM crops, including partial adoption, factor-biased productivity shock in each adopting country, GM labeling regulations modeled as trade filters, and the inclusion of costly non-GM segregation as observed in the international market.
This series is aimed at economists and financial economists worldwide and will provide an in-depth look at current global topics. Each volume in the series will focus on…
This series is aimed at economists and financial economists worldwide and will provide an in-depth look at current global topics. Each volume in the series will focus on specialized topics for greater understanding of the chosen subject and provide a detailed discussion of emerging issues. The target audiences are professional researchers, graduate students, and policy makers. It will offer cutting-edge views on new horizons and deepen the understanding in these emerging topics.
Purpose – To identify how agricultural biotechnology addresses the two challenges facing agriculture: to feed a world growing to 9 billion people by 2050 and to provide a…
Purpose – To identify how agricultural biotechnology addresses the two challenges facing agriculture: to feed a world growing to 9 billion people by 2050 and to provide a liquid fuel alternative to petroleum.
Design –This chapter relies on econometric modeling, a review of existing literature, and diagrammatic modeling to articulate the impact of agricultural biotechnology on food and energy markets.
Findings –Agricultural biotechnology reduces the tension between food security and biofuel production. It reduces volatility in food and fuel markets and can mitigate risk to biofuel processors.
Originality – The analysis is original although it relies on previous research to some extent. The analysis is compared to and contrasted with related work.
Purpose – The chapter provides a comprehensive review of trade-related regulations of genetically modified (GM) food, identifies their main effects, and analyzes the main…
Purpose – The chapter provides a comprehensive review of trade-related regulations of genetically modified (GM) food, identifies their main effects, and analyzes the main motivations behind their support.
Methodology/approach – The analysis is substantiated by (a) results from the literature on GM food regulations and (b) comparative statics results from a simplified three-country partial equilibrium welfare and political economic model.
Findings – The analysis shows that in a non-GM producing country, trade-related regulations will benefit producers, but not necessarily consumers. Producers' support is found to be instrumental to push for a ban, for information requirements on shipments, or for mandatory labeling of GM food products. Outside pressure groups will play the role of swing voters in cases where consumers and producers do not agree.
Research limitations/implications – The analytical model is based on simplifying assumptions on the groups and market effects of each regulation. Future research is needed to empirically validate some of the main results.
Originality/value of the chapter – The goal of the chapter is to inform economic and policy researchers on the effects of GM food trade-related regulations. The chapter provides an updated comprehensive overview of the key trade regulations of GM food. It uses a unique model to derive the main welfare effects of GM food regulations. By comparing the effects of GM food regulations in different types of countries for different pressure groups, the findings provide new insights in this area.
Purpose – This chapter investigates the role that mandatory genetically modified (GM) labeling versus voluntary labeling has played in the split between those countries…
Purpose – This chapter investigates the role that mandatory genetically modified (GM) labeling versus voluntary labeling has played in the split between those countries with small GM markets and those with large GM markets.
Methodology/approach – Data on product introductions and other market evidence are used to examine market outcomes and identify the likely drivers of GM market bifurcation.
Findings – Labeling has negligible effects on consumer choice or on GM differentiation costs and therefore does not explain the split in GM market outcomes. Other factors have driven market outcomes: namely, consumer confidence in government and the safety of the food supply, competition among manufacturers and retailers, market momentum, and most importantly, the affordability of a non-GM strategy. Ultimately, a non-GM market strategy is feasible only if consumers are willing to cover the additional costs associated with non-GM production and marketing. The two elements composing the cost/price wedge between GM and non-GM products – the cost-reducing benefits of the GM technology and the costs of differentiating non-GM products – therefore play an important role in market outcomes. In the mid-1990s, when producers, manufacturers, and retailers were determining their strategies, neither element was very large. As a result, both GM and non-GM marketing strategies were economically feasible.
Practical implication – Regardless of the labeling regime, changes in the cost/price wedge between GM and non-GM products could change the mix of GM and non-GM products on the market.
Originality/value of paper – This analysis extends the literature by focusing on the impact of labeling regime on both consumer behavior and the cost/price wedge between GM and non-GM products.