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Cotton, biotechnology, and economic development

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  • Baffes, John

Abstract

During the past decade, cotton prices remained considerably below other agricultural prices (although they recovered toward the end of 2010). Yet, between 2000-04 and 2005-09 world cotton production increased 13 percent. This paper conjectures that biotechnology-induced productivity improvements increased supplies by China and India, which, in addition to keeping cotton prices low, aided these countries to cap-ture market share from (and cause losses to) non-users of biotechnology. By contrast, with a single exception, Africa has not adopted biotechnology and, not coincidentally, its cotton output declined by more than 20 percent between the first and second half of the past decade. The paper concludes that the development implications of biotechnology go beyond cotton and Africa. High energy prices have been an important driver of the recent commodity price boom. Therefore, investment and policy strategy responses to a cost-driven boom should be consistent with cost-saving alternatives. Biotechnology clearly meets this challenge.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5896.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5896

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Related research

Keywords: Crops&Crop Management Systems; Markets and Market Access; E-Business; Emerging Markets; Economic Theory&Research;

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  1. Deb, Partha & Trivedi, Pravin K & Varangis, Panayotis, 1996. "The Excess Co-movement of Commodity Prices Reconsidered," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(3), pages 275-91, May-June.
  2. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will, 2005. "Agricultural trade reform and the Doha development agenda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3607, The World Bank.
  3. Kym Anderson, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives : A Global Perspective, 1955-2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9436, January.
  4. Aksoy, M. Ataman & Beghin, John C., 2005. "Global Agricultural Trade and Developing Countries," Staff General Research Papers 12228, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Anderson, Kym & Valenzuela, Ernesto, 2006. "WTO's Doha Cotton Initiative: A Tale of Two Issues," CEPR Discussion Papers 5567, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kym Anderson & Ernesto Valenzuela & Lee Ann Jackson, 2008. "Recent and Prospective Adoption of Genetically Modified Cotton: A Global Computable General Equilibrium Analysis of Economic Impacts," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 265-296.
  7. C. John McDermott & Alasdair Scott & Paul Cashin, 1999. "The Myth of Comoving Commodity Prices," IMF Working Papers 99/169, International Monetary Fund.
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