Inappropriate Technology: Evidence from Global Agriculture
98 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2021 Last revised: 12 Sep 2022
Date Written: September 10, 2022
An influential explanation for global productivity differences is that frontier technologies are adapted to the high-income countries that develop them and “inappropriate” elsewhere. We study this inappropriate technology hypothesis in agriculture by using mismatch in the presence of crop pests and pathogens (CPPs) as a shifter of technology's inappropriateness and investigating its effect on technology diffusion and productivity. CPP mismatch reduces plant-variety transfer at the crop-by-country-pair level, particularly from innovation-intensive origins. CPP mismatch with these innovation-intensive countries reduces crop production. Our estimates, combined with a model, imply that inappropriateness reduces global productivity by 58% and increases cross-country disparities by 15%.
Keywords: inappropriate technology, agriculture, biotechnology, crop pests and pathogens
JEL Classification: O3, O4, Q1, Q57
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