The brave new world: imperfect information, segregation costs, and genetically modified organisms

The introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops in the mid 1990s appeared to be the latest in a string of technological innovations in agriculture. However, consumer resistance, particularly in Europe has limited the sector’s enthusiasm. One response to the limited enthusiasm has been the emergence of segregated markets for GM and non-GM products. These separated markets reduce economic welfare because they require additional costs in the marketing system. Offsetting these segregation costs, however, the introduction of GM technologies offers increased economic welfare through reduced commodity prices for consumers who are indifferent to the presence of GM traits and increased profits to producers who adopt GM technologies. This study develops the combinations of segregation costs and increased supplies that leave societal surplus unchanged. Any GM technology that yields a larger increase in supply for any segregation cost depicted in this relationship meets the compensation principle and, thus, improves societal welfare. In this case, market based adoption of these technologies improve economic surplus. On the other hand, technologies that yields less increase in supply for any segregation cost reduces societal welfare. Under this scenario, market based adoption will not be welfare improving and, hence, government regulation may be required.

Variant title:
Schöne neue Welt: Unvollkommene Information, Kosten der Markttrennung und gentechnisch veränderte Organismen
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Journal Article
DOI and Other Identifiers:
ISSN 0002-1121 (Other)
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Published in:
German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Volume 53, Number 8
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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