A new review concludes that there is a tendency to over-extrapolate small-scale and short-term specific results to generalized conclusions
A new review examines the socio-economic research on GM crops – see abstract below. The review concludes that currently such GMO research mostly lacks empirical evidence, reports only short-term findings, has important knowledge gaps, and is methodologically biased in favour of GM crops. In particular, such research often uses chemically-intensive agriculture as the comparator, making it easier to portray GM crops as "the solution".
Socio-economic research on genetically modified crops: a study of the literature
Georgina Catacora-Vargas, Rosa Binimelis, Anne I. Myhr, Brian Wynne
Agriculture and Human Values (2017)
The importance of socio-economic impacts (SEI) from the introduction and use of genetically modified (GM) crops is reflected in increasing efforts to include them in regulatory frameworks. Aiming to identify and understand the present knowledge on SEI of GM crops, we here report the findings from an extensive study of the published international scientific peer-reviewed literature. After applying specified selection criteria, a total of 410 articles are analysed. The main findings include: (i) limited empirical research on SEI of GM crops in the scientific literature; (ii) the main focus of the majority of the published research is on a restricted set of monetary economic parameters; (iii) proportionally, there are very few empirical studies on social and non-monetary economic aspects; (iv) most of the research reports only short-term findings; (v) the variable local contexts and conditions are generally ignored in research methodology and analysis; (vi) conventional agriculture is the commonly used comparator, with minimal consideration of other substantially different agricultural systems; and (vii) there is the overall tendency to frame the research upon not validated theoretical assumptions, and to over-extrapolate small-scale and short-term specific results to generalized conclusions. These findings point to a lack of empirical and comprehensive research on SEI of GM crops for possible use in decision-making. Broader questions and improved methodologies, assisted by more rigorous peer-review, will be required to overcome current research shortcomings.