Projects Funded for Ahsanuzzaman Ahsanuzzaman


Assessing the Feasibility of GM Labeling: The Case of Bt Eggplant in Bangladesh

David Zilberman, Ahsanuzzaman Ahsanuzzaman, and Hamza Husain


Proposed Objectives of the Project:

  1. Understand the feasibility of “genetically modified” (GM) labeling in agri-food value chains in developing countries.
  2. Assess developing country consumers’ knowledge and familiarity with GM crops.
  3. Measure consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for GM and non-GM varieties and whether this WTP is affected by GM information labels.

Summary of Results:
Because of the pandemic, we were not able to go to Bangladesh at the time. The original student (Carly Trachtman) who started the project, got paid for a year, and graduated after doing research because of the pandemic and then left. Instead, Hamza, Ahsan, and I analyzed the data that we obtained from Bangladesh. Ahsan got extra data, and we wrote a paper that

  1. The yield, pesticide use, and cost effect of Bt Eggplant
  2. This is the first study that shows Bt Eggplant get higher prices than non-Bt Eggplant (we collected data that we will use later. This data explains the differences in prices better).
  3. We identified the factors that explain adoption

More importantly, we compared our results with two existing studies based on control trials. We show that yield and pesticide use are similar. They lack some of the other cost considerations and don’t have adoption results. Moreover, we show that actual field data can do what controlled experiments can do and provide much more information at lower research cost. The bottom line is that the highly regarded control trial is not the gold standard for empirical research in economics. Of course, they have an important role, but other studies using traditional econometrics and observed field data may be more appropriate in other situations.

The results will appear in European Review of Agricultural Economics in 2024. The paper was accepted.