Table of Contents

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle

This book is a compendium of knowledge, experience and insight on agriculture, biotechnology and development. Beginning with an account of GM crop adoptions and attitudes towards them, the book assesses numerous crucial processes, concluding with detailed insights into GM products. Drawing on expert perspectives of leading authors from 57 different institutions in 16 countries, it provides a unique, global overview of agbiotech following 20 years of adoption. Many consider GM crops the most rapid agricultural innovation adopted in the history of agriculture. This book provides insights as to why the adoption has occurred globally at such a rapid rate.

Chapter 45: The size and distribution of the benefits from the adoption of biotech soybean varieties

Julian M. Alston, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes and John Kruse

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, biotechnology, environmental sociology, innovation and technology, biotechnology


Economists have estimated the annual social benefits from genetically modified (GM) crops to be in the billions of dollars (Brookes et al., 2010; Carpenter, 2010; Falck-Zepeda et al., 2000b; Qaim, 2009; Sobolevsky et al., 2005; Konduru et al., 2008). These measures are generally partial, in that they leave out some elements of costs and benefits, including non-pecuniary benefits to adopting farmers and environmental benefits to others. In addition, they are incomplete in the sense that they represent the 'initial incidence' of benefits from the adoption of the technology, rather than the 'final incidence', which accounts for the shifting of the benefits from farmers to consumers and among different types of farmers as prices are induced to change. In this chapter we estimate the global benefits from the adoption of biotech soybean varieties, and the distribution of those benefits among technology suppliers, farmers and consumers in a large number of countries, some of which have adopted soybean biotechnologies and some that have not. Our analysis is backward looking, in the sense that we estimate the benefits from the adoption of soybean biotechnologies over the period 1996-2009, based on data of actual adoption. The size of the innovation-induced shift in supply depends on the impact of the innovation on yields and costs. We use information from a comprehensive review of previous studies combined with extensive data from producer surveys to derive estimates of the farm-level consequences of adoption.

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