The Unintended Consequences of Biotechnology Innovation Adoption
44 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 1, 2018
The notion that technological innovation can benefit the economic and social well-being of a society is well accepted, but less examined is the potential that the adoption of new technologies may inadvertently lead to adverse effects in society. In this study, we consider the potential effects of adoption of agricultural biotechnology innovation in the context of the U.S. agrarian economy. We also consider the intervening impact of social innovation in the agrarian sector – in the form of certified organic operations — in this framework. Using panel data techniques on a representative sample of U.S. states, we show that increasing the adoption of agricultural biotechnology innovation in a state (i.e. the proportion of planted seeds that are genetically engineered seeds) is associated with increasing food insecurity and increasing obesity rates in a state. Furthermore, the findings indicate that certified organic operations have a positive influence on economic and social well-being. These findings offer initial insights into unforeseen demand side effects of product innovation adoption, while indicating promising avenues for future research and policy.
Keywords: biotechnology, technological innovation, social innovation, certified organic operations
JEL Classification: O13, L65, D62
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