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Mendel versus Malthus: Research, Productivity and Food Prices in the Long Run

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Author Info

  • Alston, Julian M.
  • Beddow, Jason M.
  • Pardey, Philip G.

Abstract

Over the past 50 years and longer, the supply of food commodities has grown faster than the effective market demand, in spite of increasing population and per capita incomes. Consequently, the real (deflated) prices of food commodities have steadily trended down. The past increases in agricultural productivity and production, and the resulting real price trends, are attributable in large part to technological changes enabled by investments in agricultural R&D. Evidence is beginning to emerge of a slowdown in the long-term path of agricultural productivity growth. These productivity patterns mirror a progressive slowing down in the growth rate of total spending on agricultural R&D and a redirection of the funds away from farm productivity that began 20-30 years ago.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 53400.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:53400

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Related research

Keywords: Demand and Price Analysis; Productivity Analysis; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

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Cited by:
  1. Vanessa Rayner & Emily Laing & Jamie Hall, 2011. "Developments in Global Food Prices," RBA Bulletin, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 15-22, March.
  2. Bervejillo, José E. & Alston, Julian M. & Tumber, Kabir P., 2011. "The Economic Returns to Public Agricultural Research in Uruguay," Working Papers 162518, Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics.
  3. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Ruttan, Vernon W., 2008. "Research Lags Revisited: Concepts and Evidence from U.S. Agriculture," Staff Papers 50091, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  4. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, William J., 2010. "Promoting global agricultural growth and poverty reduction," 114th Seminar, April 15-16, 2010, Berlin, Germany 61098, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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