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Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: An Evidence-based Assessment

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  • Guillaume Gruere
  • Debdatta Sengupta

Abstract

Bt cotton is accused of being responsible for an increase of farmer suicides in India. In this article, we provide a comprehensive review of evidence on Bt cotton and farmer suicides. Available data show no evidence of a 'resurgence' of farmer suicides. Moreover, Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. Nevertheless, in specific districts and years, Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides, but its failure was mainly the result of the context or environment in which it was planted.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Gruere & Debdatta Sengupta, 2011. "Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: An Evidence-based Assessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 316-337.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:2:p:316-337 DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.492863
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    2. Benjamin P. Warner, 2016. "Understanding actor-centered adaptation limits in smallholder agriculture in the Central American dry tropics," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 33(4), pages 785-797, December.
    3. Hebous, Sarah & Klonner, Stefan, 2014. "Economic Distress and Farmer Suicides in India: An Econometric Investigation," Working Papers 0565, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    4. Shafiq, M. Najeeb, 2015. "Aspects of Moral Change in India, 1990–2006: Evidence from Public Attitudes toward Tax Evasion and Bribery," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 136-148.
    5. Stan Becker, 2013. "Has the World Really Survived the Population Bomb? (Commentary on “How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons From 50 Years of Extraordinary Demographic History”)," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 2173-2181, December.
    6. Sarthak Gaurav & Srijit Mishra, 2012. "To Bt or not to Bt? Risk and uncertainty considerations in technology assessment," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2012-001, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    7. Kouser, Shahzad & Qaim, Matin & Abedullah, 2015. "Bt cotton and employment effects for female agricultural laborers in Pakistan: An application of double-hurdle model," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212014, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. 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).
    9. Jonas Kathage & Matin Qaim, 2011. "Are the economic benefits of Bt cotton sustainable? Evidence from Indian panel data," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 80, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    10. Glenn Stone & Andrew Flachs, 2014. "The problem with the farmer’s voice," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 31(4), pages 649-653, December.
    11. Ramasundaram, P. & Suresh, A. & Samuel, Josily & Wankhade, Shwetal, 2014. "Welfare Gains from Application of First Generation Biotechnology in Indian Agriculture: The Case of Bt Cotton," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 27(1).
    12. Kouser, Shahzad & Qaim, Matin, 2011. "Impact of Bt cotton on pesticide poisoning in smallholder agriculture: A panel data analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2105-2113, September.
    13. Basu, Deepankar & Das, Debarshi & Misra, Kartik, 2016. "Farmer Suicides in India: Levels and Trends across Major States, 1995-2011," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2016-01, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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