Survival Analysis of Cereal Crop Variety Innovations in the UK

This paper explores the changing survival patterns of cereal crop variety innovations in the UK since the introduction of plant breeders’ rights in the mid-1960s. Using non-parametric, semi-parametric and parametric approaches, we examine the determinants of the survival of wheat variety innovations, focusing on the impacts of changes to Plant Variety Protection (PVP) regime over the last four decades. We find that the period since the introduction of the PVP regime has been characterised by the accelerated development of new varieties and increased private sector participation in the breeding of cereal crop varieties. However, the increased flow of varieties has been accompanied by a sharp decline in the longevity of innovations. These trends may have contributed to a reduction in the returns appropriated by plant breeders from protected variety innovations and may explain the decline of conventional plant breeding in the UK. It may also explain the persistent demand from the seed industry for stronger protection. The strengthening of the PVP regime in conformity with the UPOV Convention of 1991, the introduction of EU-wide protection through the Community Plant Variety Office and the introduction of royalties on farm-saved seed have had a positive effect on the longevity of protected variety innovations, but have not been adequate to offset the long term decline in survival durations.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q12; Q16

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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