Two Blades of Grass: The Impact of the Green Revolution
We examine the economic impact of high-yielding crop varieties (HYVs) in developing countries 1960-2000. We use time variation in the development and diffusion of HYVs of 10 major crops, spatial variation in agro-climatically suitability for growing them, and a differences-in-differences strategy to identify the causal effects of adoption. In a sample of 84 counties, we estimate that a 10 percentage points increase in HYV adoption increases GDP per capita by about 15 percent. This effect is fully accounted for by the direct effect on crop yields, factor adjustment, and structural transformation. We also find that HYV adoption reduced both fertility and mortality.
We would like to thank Philipp Ager, Felipe Valencia Caicedo, Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Stefan Dercon, Dave Donaldson, Cheryl Doss, James Fenske, Nicola Gennaioli, Walker Hanlon, Peter Sandholt Jensen, Nicolai Kaarsen, Tim Kelley, Nathan Nunn, James Stevenson, David N. Weil, and seminar participants at the University of Copenhagen, McGill, the 7th Annual Workshop on Growth, History and Development at the University of Southern Denmark, the 2016 annual European Economic Association meeting in Geneva, the 2017 annual AEA meeting in Chicago, and the NBER conference on Trade and Agriculture for helpful comments and suggestions. Douglas Gollin currently serves as chair of the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) of the CGIAR, the publicly funded agricultural research and development consortium under whose auspices many of the Green Revolution varieties were developed. Gollin's views do not represent those of SPIA, the ISPC, or the CGIAR. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Douglas Gollin & Casper Worm Hansen & Asger Mose Wingender, 2021. "Two Blades of Grass: The Impact of the Green Revolution," Journal of Political Economy, vol 129(8), pages 2344-2384.