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Social Impacts of GM Crops in Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7521-2310
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2015 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 7, no 7, 8598-8620 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It has recently been argued that the fragmented knowledge on the social impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops is contributing to the polarised debate on the matter. This paper addresses this issue by systematically reviewing 99 peer-reviewed journal articles published since 2004 on the social impacts of GM crops in agriculture; summarising current knowledge, and identifying research gaps. Economic impact studies currently dominate the literature and mainly report that GM crops provide economic benefits for farmers. Other social impacts are less well studied, but present a more complex picture. Studies on access to and benefits of GM crops show that these vary significantly depending on the political and regulatory setting. Substantial evidence indicates that intellectual property rights (IPR) and the private industry's dominance limit the access and utility of available GM crops to many farmers. Wellbeing is frequently discussed in the literature, but rarely investigated empirically. Existing evidence is contradictory and inconclusive. Impact studies from the Global North are virtually non-existent. Moreover, two-thirds of publications are based on previously published empirical evidence, indicating a need for new empirical investigations into the social impacts of GM crops in agriculture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 7, no 7, 8598-8620 p.
Keyword [en]
social impact, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), biotechnology, agriculture, farm, sustainability
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173991DOI: 10.3390/su7078598ISI: 000360354500027ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84940497414OAI: diva2:858223
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research

QC 20151001

Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-09-24 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved

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Ekener-Petersen, ElisabethEdvardsson Björnberg, Karin
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