How Agricultural Biotechnology Boosts Food Supply and Accomodates Biofuels

22 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2011 Last revised: 22 Mar 2015

See all articles by Steven Sexton

Steven Sexton

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy

David Zilberman

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Date Written: January 2011

Abstract

Increased global demand for biofuels is placing increased pressure on agricultural systems at a time when traditional sources of yield improvements have been mostly exhausted, generating concerns about the future of food prices. This paper estimates the impact of global adoption of genetically engineered (GE) seeds on food supply by exploiting the spatial and temporal variation in the adoption of GE crops to identify the average yield effect due to GE technologies among adopters. The yield gains range from 65% for GE cotton to 12.4% for soybeans and appear to be higher in the developing world than in developed countries. The authors simulate food prices during the 2008 food crisis without GE-seed-induced yield gains. Genetically engineered crops appear to play an important role in arbitrating tensions between energy production, environmental protection, and global food supplies.

Suggested Citation

Sexton, Steven and Zilberman, David, How Agricultural Biotechnology Boosts Food Supply and Accomodates Biofuels (January 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16699. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1740323

Steven Sexton (Contact Author)

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )

201 Science Drive
Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708-0239
United States

David Zilberman

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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