A Survey of Literature on Genetically Modified Crops: Economics, Ethics and Society

This paper reports on a review of literature in the form of academic papers and published research on ethical and consumer issues for GM crops in North America, with particular emphasis on GM wheat. The issues raised in these papers and the findings and arguments posed by the authors are outlined. A general conclusion that can be drawn from this overview is that public attitudes toward GM foods are diverse and sometimes quite strongly held. The strong negative views of GM food held by some appear to be mainly grounded in individuals’ ethical or moral values. Ethical and risk assessment issues have not been fully explored in the existing literature. There is a general consensus in the applied economics literature that GM crops result in economic benefits, although benefits to individual consumers may not be great enough to overcome perceived risk. Carefully planned provision of credible information informing members of the public of benefits and related issues of concern or costs associated with agricultural biotechnology may have benefits for farm and industry groups, but maintenance of trust in information sources and content is vital to credibility. The discovery and use of genomic techniques that express explicit consumer benefits may lead to more favourable attitudes by many consumers.

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Working or Discussion Paper
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JEL Codes:
I00; Q16; Q18
Series Statement:
Staff Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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