The Economics of Genetically Modified Crops

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Abstract or Summary

Genetically modified (GM) crops have been used commercially for more than 10 years. Available impact studies of insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant crops show that these technologies are beneficial to farmers and consumers, producing large aggregate welfare gains as well as positive effects for the environment and human health. The advantages of future applications could even be much bigger. Given a conducive institutional framework, GM crops can contribute significantly to global food security and poverty reduction. Nonetheless, widespread public reservations have led to a complex system of regulations. Overregulation has become a real threat for the further development and use of GM crops. The costs in terms of foregone benefits may be large, especially for developing countries. Economics research has an important role to play in designing efficient regulatory mechanisms and agricultural innovation systems.

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