Agricultural Biotechnology: Productivity, Biodiversity, and Intellectual Property Rights

David Zilberman 1 , Holly Ameden 2 , Gregory Graff 3 ,  and Matin Qaim 4
  • 1 University of California-Berkeley
  • 2 University of California-Berkeley
  • 3 University of California-Berkeley
  • 4 University of Hohenheim

This paper argues that current forms of agricultural biotechnology have significant potential for developing countries; the challenge is to realize this potential. We develop a conceptual model that explains why the yield effects of GMVs (genetically modified varieties) tend to be significant and reduce chemical use, contributing to human welfare, and present results from empirical studies that support these findings. We demonstrate that the adoption of GMVs might not necessarily lead to elimination of many varieties. Instead, crop biodiversity may be enhanced. Finally, we discuss how IPR constraints can be addressed, and new institutions that are already emerging may be used to allow developing countries more access to IPRs.

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The Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization (JAFIO) is a unique forum for empirical and theoretical research in industrial organization with a special focus on agricultural and food industries worldwide. JAFIO is the only international journal devoted solely to theoretical and empirical industrial organization as applied to agricultural and food systems which link input suppliers, farmers, processors, and retailers.

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