Two Blades of Grass: The Impact of the Green Revolution

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We estimate the impact of the Green Revolution in the developing world by exploiting exogenous heterogeneity in the timing and extent of the benefits derived from high-yielding crop varieties (HYVs). We find that HYVs increased yields by 44% between 1965 and 2010, with further gains coming through reallocation of inputs. Higher yields increased income and reduced population growth. A 10-year delay of the Green Revolution would in 2010 have cost 17% of GDP (gross domestic product) per capita and added 223 million people to the developing-world population. The cumulative GDP loss over 45 years would have been US$83 trillion, corresponding to approximately one year of current global GDP.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)2344-2384
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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