IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why were So Many Social Scientists Wrong about the Green Revolution? Learning from Bangladesh


  • Alastair Orr


Most social scientists once took a negative view of the socio-economic consequences of the Green Revolution. Events have since proved them wrong. Using Bangladesh as an example, we offer three reasons why social scientists were mistaken. One is the focus on village studies at the expense of nationally representative surveys. Another is insufficient appreciation of the technical limits of the new rice technology. The third is a misleading model of agrarian change. The inability of village studies to validate generalisations, the reluctance to abandon the historical model of de-peasantisation, and opposing beliefs about how to evaluate socio-economic consequences created a Rashomon Effect that made the controversy hard to resolve. Convictions are greater enemies of truth than lies. (Nietzsche)

Suggested Citation

  • Alastair Orr, 2012. "Why were So Many Social Scientists Wrong about the Green Revolution? Learning from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(11), pages 1565-1586, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:11:p:1565-1586
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2012.663905

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Thornton, PK & Schuetz, T & Förch, W & Cramer, L & Abreu, D & Vermeulen, S & Campbell, BM, 2017. "Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 145-153.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:11:p:1565-1586. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.