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Genetically modified foods, trade, and developing countries

Author

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  • Nielsen, Chantal Pohl
  • Thierfelder, Karen
  • Robinson, Sherman

Abstract

This paper analyzes price, production and trade consequences of changing consumer preferences regarding the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food production. The analytical framework used is an empirical global general equilibrium model, in which the entire food processing chain - from primary crops through livestock feed to processed foods - is segregated into genetically modified (GM) and non-GM lines of production. This model is used to analyze the implications of widespread use of genetically engineered crops in some regions whilst consumers in Western Europe and High- income Asia adopt a critical attitude toward GM foods. Two different representations of consumer preference changes are illustrated: (1) a change in price sensitivity: i.e. consumer demand is less sensitive to a decline in the price of GM foods relative to non-GM varieties, and (2) a structural demand shift: for a given price ratio consumers simply demand less of the GM variety relative to the non-GM variety. This analysis finds that developing countries adjust their trade patterns in response to preference changes in important trading partner countries. Non-GM varieties are diverted to GM-critical regions while GM varieties are sold to countries in which consumers are not sensitive to GM content. Furthermore, the development of segregated GM and non-GM food creates a potential niche market for producers if the non-GM characteristic can in fact be preserved and verified throughout the marketing system at reasonable costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Nielsen, Chantal Pohl & Thierfelder, Karen & Robinson, Sherman, 2001. "Genetically modified foods, trade, and developing countries," TMD discussion papers 77, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:tmddps:77
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    File URL: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/tmdp77.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lewis, Jeffrey D. & Robinson, Sherman & Thierfelder, Karen, 1999. "After the negotiations: assessing the impact of free trade agreements in Southern Africa," TMD discussion papers 46, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Pohl Nielsen, Chantal & Robinson, Sherman & Thierfelder, Karen, 2001. "Genetic Engineering and Trade: Panacea or Dilemma for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1307-1324, August.
    3. Hertel, Thomas, 1997. "Global Trade Analysis: Modeling and applications," GTAP Books, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, number 7685.
    4. Pray, Carl & Ma, Danmeng & Huang, Jikun & Qiao, Fangbin, 2001. "Impact of Bt Cotton in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 813-825, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Svetlana Edmeades & Melinda Smale, 2006. "A trait-based model of the potential demand for a genetically engineered food crop in a developing economy," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(3), pages 351-361, November.
    2. Jackson, Lee Ann & Anderson, Kym, 2003. "WHY ARE US AND EU POLICIES TOWARD GMOs SO DIFFERENT?," 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia 57898, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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