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A Meta Analysis on Farm-Level Costs and Benefits of GM Crops

Author

Listed:
  • Robert Finger

    () (Agri-Food and Agri-Environmental Economics Group, ETH Zürich, Sonneggstrasse 33, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland)

  • Nadja El Benni

    () (Agri-Food and Agri-Environmental Economics Group, ETH Zürich, Sonneggstrasse 33, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland)

  • Timo Kaphengst

    () (Ecologic Institute, Pfalzburger Strasse 43/44, 10717 Berlin, Germany)

  • Clive Evans

    () (School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 227, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK)

  • Sophie Herbert

    () (Ecologic Institute, Pfalzburger Strasse 43/44, 10717 Berlin, Germany)

  • Bernard Lehmann

    () (Agri-Food and Agri-Environmental Economics Group, ETH Zürich, Sonneggstrasse 33, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland)

  • Stephen Morse

    () (Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK)

  • Nataliya Stupak

    () (Ecologic Institute, Pfalzburger Strasse 43/44, 10717 Berlin, Germany)

Abstract

This paper reviews the evidence on the socio-economic impacts of GM crops and analyzes whether there are patterns across space and time. To this end, we investigate the effect of GM crops on farm-level costs and benefits using global data from more than one decade of field trials and surveys. More specifically, we analyze the effects of GM-crops on crop yields, seed costs, pesticide costs, and management and labor costs and finally gross margins. Based on collected data from studies on Bt cotton and Bt maize, statistical analyses are conducted to estimate the effect of GM crop adoption on these parameters. Our results show that, compared to conventional crops, GM crops can lead to yield increases and can lead to reductions in the costs of pesticide application, whereas seed costs are usually substantially higher. Thus, the results presented here do support the contention that the adoption of GM crops leads on average to a higher economic performance, which is also underlined by the high adoption rates for GM crops in a number of countries. However, the kind and magnitude of benefits from GM crops are very heterogeneous between countries and regions, particularly due to differences in pest pressure and pest management practices. Countries with poor pest management practices benefited most from a reduction in yield losses, whereas other countries benefited from cost reductions. However, our study also reveals limitations for meta-analyses on farm-level costs and benefits of GM crops. In particular, published data are skewed towards some countries and the employed individual studies rely on different assumptions, purposes and methodologies (e.g., surveys and field trials). Furthermore, a summary of several (often) short-term individual studies may not necessarily capture long-term effects of GM crop adoption.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Finger & Nadja El Benni & Timo Kaphengst & Clive Evans & Sophie Herbert & Bernard Lehmann & Stephen Morse & Nataliya Stupak, 2011. "A Meta Analysis on Farm-Level Costs and Benefits of GM Crops," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(5), pages 1-20, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:5:p:743-762:d:12336
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:jageco:v:68:y:2017:i:2:p:366-385 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:580-:d:95532 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:452-462 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Smyth, Stuart J. & Falck-Zepeda, Jose & Ludlow, Karinne, 2016. "The Costs of Regulatory Delays for Genetically Modified Crops," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 17(2).
    5. Phélinas, Pascale & Choumert, Johanna, 2017. "Is GM Soybean Cultivation in Argentina Sustainable?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 452-462.
    6. Gouse, Marnus & Sengupta, Debdatta & Zambrano, Patricia & Zepeda, José Falck, 2016. "Genetically Modified Maize: Less Drudgery for Her, More Maize for Him? Evidence from Smallholder Maize Farmers in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 27-38.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:5:p:1514-:d:145595 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Klara Fischer & Elisabeth Ekener-Petersen & Lotta Rydhmer & Karin Edvardsson Björnberg, 2015. "Social Impacts of GM Crops in Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-23, July.
    9. Gruere, Guillaume P. & Sun, Yan, 2012. "Measuring the contribution of Bt cotton adoption to India's cotton yields leap:," IFPRI discussion papers 1170, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Xingliang Ma & Melinda Smale & David J. Spielman & Patricia Zambrano & Hina Nazli & Fatima Zaidi, 2017. "A Question of Integrity: Variants of Bt Cotton, Pesticides and Productivity in Pakistan," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 366-385, June.
    11. Gleim, Savannah & Smyth, Stuart J. & Phillips, Peter W.B., 2016. "Regulatory System Impacts on Global GM Crop Adoption Patterns," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 17(2).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    biotechnology; GM crops; food security; technological change;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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