Empirical analysis on the impact of private-sector R&D on cotton productivity in India
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Private seed firms in India have made significant investments in cotton breeding and biotechnology since the 1980s. These investments have paid off with a series of proprietary hybrids that were developed using the inbred lines based on public-sector research and breeding methods. The adoption of proprietary hybrids has rapidly increased since 1998, and by 2009-10, 95% of cotton acreage was under proprietary Bt hybrids. As a consequence of their adoption, average cotton yields have increased from 100 kg/ha in the 1950s to nearly 552 kg/ha for the 2013-14 planting season. While many micro-level studies have shown yield increases and pesticide reduction due to Bt hybrids, only a few have sought to estimate the differential impacts of proprietary hybrids from that of the Bt trait. This article seeks to estimate these differential impacts.