Working Paper
Growth and Entitlements

The Analytics of the Green Revolution

In the preceding pages we have attempted a detailed rebuttal of the view that, given the prevailing structural constraints imposed by the unequal distribution of land and other assets, growth through Green Revolution must impoverish, or at best by-pass, the majority of rural poor. The approach has been essentially analytical rather than empirical, although empirical evidence has been drawn upon, mainly from South Asia, to validate the analytical conclusions. First, from the critical literature, a number of 'transmission mechanisms' were identified through which the new technology was supposed to either impoverish the poor or prevent them from gaining any benefits. Next, each of these mechanisms was subjected to a detailed analytical scrutiny in the light of both economic theory and empirical facts. This enquiry has led to the conclusion that the arguments typically advanced to support the thesis that the Green Revolution is no friend of the poor are fraught with severe problems. A more satisfactory analysis of the very same transmission mechanisms shows that the poor should actually benefit from the spread of the new technology, even without a radical redistribution of assets.