Jonas Kathage, Emilio Rodríguez-Cerezo, and Manuel Gómez-Barbero
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Joint Research Centre (JRC) Unit D.4 Economics of Agriculture, European Commission, Seville, Spain

An increase in the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in the EU could have a number of socio-economic consequences for farmers, upstream and downstream industries, as well as consumers. The European GMO Socio-Economics Bureau (ESEB)—composed of representatives of EU Member States, Norway, and the European Commission—has compiled topics, indicators, methodological guidelines, and potential data sources to carry out analyses of these socio-economic effects into a Reference Document entitled Framework for the Socioeconomic Analysis of the Cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops. This article describes the development and the findings of the Reference Document. The Reference Document provides a framework that is applicable to any GM crop that has been or might be grown in EU Member States. Almost 100 indicators, which range from farm adoption rates to consumer surplus, have been identified by the ESEB. The Reference Document found that evidence of impacts in the EU already exists for some crop/trait combinations both ex post and ex ante but that for most topics it is very limited. Methodologies have been developed by the scientific community for many of the topics and indicators, from simple partial budget analysis to complex aggregated models. It is concluded that while methodologies are available for many of the topics and indicators, the main constraint is a lack of data.

Key words: European Union, farm survey, genetically modified crops, genetic engineering, impact assessment, socio-economic analysis, welfare analysis.