Managing the Agricultural Biotechnology Revolution: Responses to Transgenic Seeds in Developing Countries


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Political Science


This political science dissertation studies the rules regulating agriculture with transgenic seeds. Why do some countries prohibit these seeds in their territory, while others encourage it? Among the latter, what leads to the different intellectual property (IP) protection systems? Most consumers view the products of transgenic seeds as inferior goods. Associations of big farmers tend to favor the adoption of the new seeds and view the IP claims by biotech companies as tolerable. And smaller farmers and domestic seed industries seek guarantees from the state that the technology adoption conditions will not be established to their disadvantage. The dissertation examines policy experiences from 1995 to 2013 in Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey (using elite interviews), as well as India (using secondary literature) to explain why state officials in each country prioritized one agenda over others in their policy decisions. At a more general level, the study contributes to inquiries of decision making under high uncertainty.