Desk full of items related to intellectual property.

International Trade and Technology Policies

Principal Investigator

Pamela Smith

Department and College

Department of Applied Economics in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Project Number


Funding Type

State of MN (SAES)

Project Start and End Date

July 6, 2015-September 30, 2020

Project Summary

The purpose of this project is to examine contemporary issues concerning international trade and technology policy that have significant impacts on the economic welfare of human beings. The project includes research on five broad and overlapping questions: (1) What are the implications of patents for farmers' decisions to use genetically modified seed vs. traditional nongenetically modified seed? (2) What are the supply-side determinants of international trade in crops that are intensive in genetically modified organisms? (3) What are the effects of intellectual property rights on the economic growth of countries? (4) To what extent are country policies toward genetically modified organisms "trade-related?" (5) What are the welfare effects of national and international policy options that support economic development through international technology transfers?

The economic methods will varying to fit the project goals and questions described above. The theoretical approaches include game theory, general equilibrium models of international trade (including the Heckscher-Ohlin and Gravity models), macroeconomic growth model, and benefit-cost analysis, respectively. The prominent empirical approach is to examine the questions thematically for all countries that comprise the global economy. Thus, the research will rely primarily on panel data which are detailed by country, by year, and by industry (as appropriate to the model).

The ultimate goals of the project are to examine the effects of policy decisions (e.g., intellectual property rights, GMO regulations, technology transfer policies) on the economic welfare of stakeholders at the national and global levels. Stakeholders include consumers, producers (e.g., farmers), innovators (e.g, seed firms), and governments within national communities and globally.