Brown Bag Lunch
Brown Bag Lunch

The diffusion of genetic resources and yield gaps in the developing world

Nicholas Tyak, PhD student in Development Economics
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Petal 2 Room S4, Maison de la paix (Geneva)

The Brown Bag Lunch is a weekly event organized by International Economics.

As part of the Brown Bag Lunch series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Nicholas Tyack, PhD student in Development Economics.


The Diffusion of Genetic Resources and Yield Gaps in the Developing World.


The Green Revolution was a major public sector investment in the development of improved crop varieties, especially for rice and wheat, that led to the uptake in many countries of a package of fertilizers and high-yielding modern varieties. This analysis aims to examine how these investments in the development and dissemination of improved crop varieties contributed (or did not contribute) to yield convergence and reductions in yield gaps for a number of crops across the developing world. This approach fits into the Hayami-Ruttan theory of induced technical change in agriculture, in which innovations in agricultural technology are seen as a primary driver of productivity growth in the sector (Hayami and Ruttan 1970). I investigate this question using a cross-country database on agricultural productivity, yields and modern variety adoption rates including 77 developing countries between 1960 and 2005. I employ panel data methods, including both fixed effects and Arellano-Bond estimators, and include a number of variables to disentangle other drivers of productivity growth such as increased use of inputs per hectare of fertilizers, machinery, livestock, and labor. I further investigate the role played by country-level investments in agricultural research and development, the protection of intellectual property rights, and hybrid technology in aiding or restricting the diffusion of innovation.