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GMOs: Prospects for Increased Crop Productivity in Developing Countries


  • Robert E. Evenson

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)


Genetically Modified Crops (GMO foods) have been widely available to farmers since 1996. The Gene Revolution, based on recombinant DNA (rDNA) genetic engineering techniques, is seen by proponents as both supplanting Green Revolution varieties, based on conventional plant breeding techniques, and potentially enabling "disadvantaged" production environments, unreached by Green Revolution varieties to achieve productivity improvements. This paper argues that the private firms supplying GM crop products have generally had little interest in selling products in disadvantaged production environments. The paper also argues that present rDNA techniques allow only static gains from specific "trait" improvements. But these GM products can be installed on Green Revolution varieties where continued dynamic varietal improvement is possible. As a consequence, the Gene Revolution complements the Green Revolution, and because trait incorporation expands area planted to Green Revolution varieties, there is potential for productivity improvement in disadvantaged environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Evenson, 2003. "GMOs: Prospects for Increased Crop Productivity in Developing Countries," Working Papers 878, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:878

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zvi Griliches, 1958. "Research Costs and Social Returns: Hybrid Corn and Related Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 419-419.
    2. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
    3. Evenson, Robert E & Kislev, Yoav, 1976. "A Stochastic Model of Applied Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 265-281, April.
    4. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
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    Cited by:

    1. Das, Gouranga Gopal, 2005. "Information age to genetic revolution: Embodied technology transfer and assimilation — A tale of two technologies," MPRA Paper 37250, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2006.
    2. Zylbersztajn, Decio & Machado, Claudio Pinheiro Jr, 2006. "Contracting Under Weak," 44th Congress, July 23-27, 2006, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil 148300, Sociedade Brasileira de Economia, Administracao e Sociologia Rural (SOBER).

    More about this item


    Genetically Modified Foods; Genetic Engineering;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture

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