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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate potential changes in the length of product life cycles in the US seed corn industry. We use the observed survival time on the market for hybrids sold during 1997-2009 to conduct a survival analysis. Our empirical results show that the expected lifetimes for corn hybrids with single biotech traits are 5-15% longer than for hybrids with multiple (stacked) traits, and the expected lifetimes for conventional corn are 13-17% longer than stacked hybrids. Also, the product life cycles for all types of hybrids have decreased over the past twelve years (especially after 2004), but the rate of decline is roughly similar across hybrid types. Based on this evidence, we conclude that the shorter product life cycles are closely linked to the accelerated levels of biotech product innovation in the US seed corn industry over the period of analysis.

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