This article sets forth a framework for evaluating the environmental costs and benefits associated with agricultural genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including impacts on plants, humans, animals, and the environment at large. The authors build on this knowledge to explore how and why GMOs should be regulated, highlighting the need for policy makers to bear in mind that genetically modified seeds might substitute for traditional agricultural practices which themselves have detrimental impacts on the environment. To guide regulation formation, the authors present a review of the literature in environmental economics on optimal and second-best regulation, where the latter is used in the face of real-world complications. They then evaluate how current regulations measure up to those theoretical ideals. Finally, the authors provide some insight into what GMO crop regulation might accomplish by reviewing the evidence on the effects of pesticide regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-463
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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