The competing policy paradigms of agricultural biotechnology: implications and opportunities for emerging and developing economies
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Agricultural science and technology policies—including public funding of crop genetics research, intellectual property protections, and biosafety approvals of regulated crops—can be understood to work together within a ‘policy paradigm’ to influence the innovation and adoption of crop varieties involving agricultural biotechnologies. The political-economy or public-choice approach views a given policy paradigm as a behaviorally rational response by policymakers to the range of pressures and inducements—such as political connections, lobbying, political donations, endorsements, elections, and popular movements—arising from the various segments of society and their respective interest groups. This article seeks to use the political-economy approach to explain why it is, almost twenty-five years after the disruptive technology of genetic engineering was first commercially deployed in crop agriculture, that most countries have a policy paradigm for transgenic crop varieties that resembles the traditional policy paradigm for the chemical pesticide industry rather than the traditional policy paradigm for the seed industry.