Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects millions of people, causing serious health problems. Golden Rice (GR), which has been genetically engineered to produce β-carotene, is being proposed as a remedy. While this new technology has aroused controversial debates, its actual impact remains unclear. We develop a methodology for ex ante evaluation, taking into account health and nutrition details, as well as socioeconomic and policy factors. The framework is used for empirical analyses in India. Given broad public support, GR could more than halve the disease burden of VAD. Juxtaposing health benefits and overall costs suggests that GR could be very cost-effective.
World Development (2008) 36 (1) 144-158 [doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2007.02.013]