The economic power of the Golden Rice opposition

Justus Wesseler, David Zilberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Vitamin A enriched rice (Golden Rice) is a cost-efficient solution that can substantially reduce health costs. Despite Golden Rice being available since early 2000, this rice has not been introduced in any country. Governments must perceive additional costs that overcompensate the benefits of the technology to explain the delay in approval. We develop a real option model including irreversibility and uncertainty about perceived costs and arrival of new information to explain a delay in approval. The model has been applied to the case of India. Results show the annual perceived costs have to be at least US$199 million per year approximately for the last decade to explain the delay in approval of the technology. This is an indicator of the economic power of the opposition towards Golden Rice resulting in about 1.4 million life years lost over the past decade in India.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-742
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Development Economics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


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