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Benefit sharing mechanisms for agricultural genetic diversity use and in-situ conservation


  • Wenjuan Cheng

    (University of Rome ”Tor Vergata”, Italy)

  • Alessio D'Amato

    () (University of Rome ”Tor Vergata”, Italy)

  • Giacomo Pallante

    () (Italian Ministrty of the Environment)


The agricultural genetic diversity is reducing at an accelerating pace. Benefit sharing mechanisms are well-known instruments to incentivize local genetic resource providers to maintain in-situ diversity and to avoid free-riding behaviour by multinational bioprospecting firms. We explore the role of these mechanisms in a setting where the output of bioprospecting activities (i.e. a modern seeds variety), competes with traditional agriculture, and the latter is necessary to conserve the genetic pool from which the multinational could extract the resources for developing new modern varieties in the future. We adopt a multistage game where the multinational anticipates the impact of its bioprospecting investments and price settings on the local owner incentives to conserve genetic diversity. We focus our attention on two benefit sharing mechanisms, namely profits sharing and technology transfers, and compare them with a benchmark featuring free genetic resources access. Our main conclusions suggest that incentives to conservation are the strongest under profit sharing, while a technology transfer produces a genetic erosion that is even higher than under free access. These results shed new light on policy design, especially in developing countries where agricultural genetic diversity is a strategic natural asset.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenjuan Cheng & Alessio D'Amato & Giacomo Pallante, 2018. "Benefit sharing mechanisms for agricultural genetic diversity use and in-situ conservation," SEEDS Working Papers 1018, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised May 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:srt:wpaper:1018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Acharya, Gayatri & Barbier, Edward B., 2000. "Valuing groundwater recharge through agricultural production in the Hadejia-Nguru wetlands in northern Nigeria," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 247-259, April.
    2. Polski, Margaret, 2005. "The institutional economics of biodiversity, biological materials, and bioprospecting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 543-557, June.
    3. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Gotor, Elisabetta & Caracciolo, Francesco, 2015. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Projects Supporting On-Farm Conservation of Native Crops: Evidence From the High Andes of South America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 162-176.
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    More about this item


    bioprospecting; genetic diversity; modern varieties adoption; monetary benefit sharing; technology transfer.;

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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