Many think that the developers of new technologies are the ones who gain virtually all of the benefits, with consumers gaining very little. If consumers don’t benefit, they won’t buy, in the case of a technology when a manufacturer doesn’t benefit, it won’t make it to market.
To gain a better understanding of the distribution of the impacts of innovation, I have conducted research that uses the innovation of herbicide tolerant (HT) canola as an example. I have worked with Peter Phillips, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan, to develop a baseline value of the benefits of HT canola in Canada.
[Editor’s note: Stuart J. Smyth is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan]
Our conservatively estimated baselines found that the three multinational enterprises (MNEs) involved in the development of HT canola (Bayer, BASF & Monsanto) gained $233 million from 1985 – 2020 …. Farmers that adopted HT canola gained $208 million, nearly as much as the technology developing MNEs through higher yields and reduced input costs.
Canadian consumers also gained $26 million through lower canola oil prices. The rest of the world gain an estimated $19 million through the lower price of Canadian canola.