IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Two Blades of Grass: The Impact of the Green Revolution


  • Douglas Gollin
  • Casper Worm Hansen
  • Asger Wingender


We examine the economic impact of high-yielding crop varieties (HYVs) in developing countries 1960-2000. We use time variation in the development and diffusion of HYVs of 10 major crops, spatial variation in agro-climatically suitability for growing them, and a differences-in-differences strategy to identify the causal effects of adoption. In a sample of 84 counties, we estimate that a 10 percentage points increase in HYV adoption increases GDP per capita by about 15 percent. This effect is fully accounted for by the direct effect on crop yields, factor adjustment, and structural transformation. We also find that HYV adoption reduced both fertility and mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Gollin & Casper Worm Hansen & Asger Wingender, 2018. "Two Blades of Grass: The Impact of the Green Revolution," NBER Working Papers 24744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24744
    Note: DEV EFG PR

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at Free access is also available to older working papers.

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

    Other versions of this item:


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

    Cited by:

    1. Dias, Mateus & Rocha, Rudi & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2019. "Glyphosate Use in Agriculture and Birth Outcomes of Surrounding Populations," IZA Discussion Papers 12164, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Fenske, James & Ali Mirza, Rinchan & Kala, Namrata, 2018. "The Green Revolution and Infant Mortality in India," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 385, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. repec:eee:agisys:v:172:y:2019:i:c:p:1-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Blakeslee, David & Chaurey, Ritam & Fishman, Ram & Malik, Samreen, 2018. "Structural Transformation and Spillovers from Industrial Areas," IZA Discussion Papers 11886, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. repec:kap:jecgro:v:23:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10887-018-9159-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Caprettini, Bruno & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2017. "Rage Against the Machines: Labour-Saving Technology and Unrest in England, 1830-32," CEPR Discussion Papers 11800, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:nbr:nberwo:24744. 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: (). 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.