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Agricultural Biotechnology And The Privatization Of Genetic Information: Implications For Innovation And Equity

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  • Jackson, Lee Ann

Abstract

Changes in intellectual property rights systems have lead to the privatization of genetic resources and subsequently to the proliferation of new agricultural biotechnology products. Since these innovations have the potential to increase agricultural production while limiting environmental degradation, the benefits from these technologies could be far-reaching. However, while intellectual property rights are intended to encourage innovation in the private sector, private sector domination of the development of new products may skew the distribution of benefits away from marginally productive agricultural areas where poorer communities live. The primary purpose of this paper is to explore the tension between the public goals of encouraging innovative use of genetic resources and supporting the equitable access to genetic resources. The paper also discusses overlapping systems of intellectual property rights on genetic resources, and how this complex system of rights for genetic resources influences the relationship of users and producers of genetic knowledge. The paper will include a discussion of private and public good aspects of genetic resources and how various intellectual property systems affect genetic resource use. The paper will also examine the challenge of creating public policies and legal systems that encourage innovation and ensure the equitable distribution of benefits from genetic resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Lee Ann, 2000. "Agricultural Biotechnology And The Privatization Of Genetic Information: Implications For Innovation And Equity," Working Papers 14365, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umciwp:14365
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/14365
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giancarlo Moschini & Harvey Lapan, 1997. "Intellectual Property Rights and the Welfare Effects of Agricultural R&D," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1229-1242.
    2. Rausser, Gordon C. & Scotchmer, Suzanne & Simon, Leo K., 1999. "Intellectual Property and Market Structure in Agriculture," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt70j206tr, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    3. Murray Fulton, 1997. "The Economics of Intellectual Property Rights: Discussion," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1592-1594.
    4. Wright, Brian D., 1997. "Crop genetic resource policy: the role of ex situ genebanks," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 41(1), March.
    5. Keith E. Maskus, 2000. "Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 99.
    6. Traxler, Greg & Falck-Zepeda, Jose Benjamin & Sain, Gustavo, 2000. "Genes, Germplasm And Developing Country Access To Genetically Modified Crop Varieties," Proceedings:Transitions in Agbiotech: Economics of Strategy and Policy, June 24-25, 1999, Washington, D.C. 25997, Regional Research Project NE-165 Private Strategies, Public Policies, and Food System Performance.
    7. Judith I. Stallmann & A. Allan Schmid, 1987. "Property Rights in Plants: Implications for Biotechnology Research and Extension," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 69(2), pages 432-437.
    8. Argyres, Nicholas S. & Liebeskind, Julia Porter, 1998. "Privatizing the intellectual commons: Universities and the commercialization of biotechnology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 427-454, May.
    9. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
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