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Regional biotechnology regulations: Design options and implications for good governance

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  • Birner, Regina
  • Linacre, Nicholas

Abstract

"Many developing countries are currently in the process of designing regulatory systems that should allow them to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for agricultural development, while also managing the food safety and environmental risks potentially associated with these technologies. Various regions of the developing world are seeking to establish regional systems of biotechnology regulation. However, considerable costs are associated with biotechnology regulation, and biosafety specialists are scarce. In addition, there is no consistent understanding of how regional systems of biotechnology regulation can be designed to be effective and efficient, while also fulfilling the principles of good governance, such as transparency, voice and accountability, control of corruption, and avoidance of special interest capture. There are a wide variety of possible regional approaches, differing with regard to the level of centralization, the scope of the regional system, the types of regional institutions and processes, and the types of financing mechanisms. Here, based on findings in the fields of environmental and fiscal federalism and transaction costs economics, we develop a conceptual framework for the assessment of regional systems of biotechnology regulation. The framework specifies design options and assessment criteria, and identifies major trade-offs and their mediating factors. We use the case of West Africa to illustrate this framework, and refer to the European Union for comparison. Our analysis indicates that involving regional experts, stakeholders and policy-makers in the design of a regional regulatory system will help fill knowledge gaps and generate conclusions regarding the trade-offs involved in regional biotechnology regulation." from Author's Abstract

Suggested Citation

  • Birner, Regina & Linacre, Nicholas, 2008. "Regional biotechnology regulations: Design options and implications for good governance," IFPRI discussion papers 753, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:753
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Regina Birner & Heidi Wittmer, 2004. "On the 'efficient boundaries of the state': the contribution of transaction-costs economics to the analysis of decentralization and devolution in natural resource management," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 22(5), pages 667-685, October.
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    4. Pritchett, Lant & Woolcock, Michael, 2004. "Solutions When the Solution is the Problem: Arraying the Disarray in Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 191-212, February.
    5. Voigt, Stefan & Salzberger, Eli M, 2002. "Choosing Not to Choose: When Politicians Choose to Delegate Powers," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 289-310.
    6. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328-328.
    7. John M. Crespi & St)phan Marette, 2001. "How Should Food Safety Certification be Financed?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 852-861.
    8. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, December.
    9. Stephan Marette & John Crespi, 2005. "The Financing of Regulatory Agencies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 95-113, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kamanda, Josey & Birner, Regina & Bantilan, Cynthia, 2015. "The "Efficient Boundaries" of International Agricultural Research: A Conceptual Framework with Empirical Illustrations," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211826, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Kamanda, Josey & Birner, Regina & Bantilan, Ma Cynthia S., 2013. "Strategic positioning of international agricultural research centres: Comparative advantage and trade-offs from a transaction cost economics perspective," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152160, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    3. Kamanda, Josey & Birner, Regina & Bantilan, Cynthia, 2017. "The “efficient boundaries” of international agricultural research: A conceptual framework with empirical illustrations," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 78-85.
    4. Julius T. Mugwagwa, 2010. "Alone or together? Can cross-national convergence of biosafety systems contribute to food security in SSA?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 352-366.
    5. Spielman, David J. & Zambrano, Patricia, 2013. "Policy, investment, and partnerships for agricultural biotechnology research in Africa: Emerging evidence," IFPRI book chapters,in: Falck-Zepeda, Jose Benjamin & Gruère, Guillaume P. & Sithole-Niang, Idah (ed.), Genetically modified crops in Africa: Economic and policy lessons from countries south of the Sahara, chapter 7, pages 183-205 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    Keywords

    Regional biotechnology regulation; Regulatory systems; Transaction cost economics; European Union; Governance;

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