Bongsuk Sung and Homin Jang
Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology

Based on survey data, this article investigates the effects of external political-economic forces on firms’ attitudes toward the industrial use of GMOs in the South Korean context by performing an ordered probit regression analysis. The survey, covering 240 firms, was conducted from November 15, 2005 through December 17, 2005. Results indicate that external political-economic pressures derived from government, consumers, industry, and markets were important for promoting firms’ industrial use of GMOs. The most important variables (listed in order of decreasing importance) were market attractiveness, competitive intensity, consumer acceptance, and regulatory intensity in terms of the coefficient. Hence, in South Korea, to promote firms’ industrial use of GMOs, the highest priority must be given to policy measures promoting market circumstances securing high profits. And these should be followed by policies that induce inter-firm competition, obtain consumer acceptance, and develop government regulations that are not a burden to firms. NGOs pressures (i.e., NGOs objection), firm’s size, and dummies for firm types (i.e., food industry vs. others) were not significant factors affecting firms’ attitudes towards the industrial use of GMOs.

Key words: Korea, industrial use of GMOs, political-economic forces, firms’ attitudes.