EMAC researchers report on impact of biotech soybeans

In the recently published “The Size and Distribution of the Benefits from the Adoption of Biotech Soybean Varieties” EMAC researchers and collaborators from WAEES and the University of California Davis, measured the global economic impacts of herbicide tolerant soybeans in their first 15 years of adoption. Their analysis finds economic benefits amounting to a total of about US$46 billion. These include benefits to consumers and producers all over the world (86% of total) as well as benefits to the innovator (14%). 

The analysis reinforces lessons learned from previous studies. First, early adopters benefit most from innovation. Out of the total world surplus, producers and consumers in the United States, Argentina and Brazil capture 75% of it. Non-adopters and producers of competitive oilseeds that have not benefited from parallel innovations experienced economic losses. Second, through induced reductions in market prices, consumers have benefited from the technology almost as much as producers have. Because all major adopting countries are also major exporters, a large share of the benefits have been transferred to importing countries. Third, the aggregate economic impacts of RR soybeans are large and sustained but also quite dynamic as they are shaped by the patterns of adoption and conditions in global commodity markets. Tighter global stocks and demand conditions in recent years have meant lower proportional price impacts and hence smaller transfers from producers to consumers.

For details on this work see Alston J., N. Kalaitzandonakes and J. Kruse, “The Global Economic Impacts of Biotech Crops” Chapter 45 in Handbook on Agriculture, Biotechnology and Development, Smyth, S. et al., eds., Edward Edgar, 2014