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Assessing the benefits of research expenditures on maize production in South Africa


  • Townsend, Rob F.
  • van Zyl, Johan
  • Thirtle, Colin G.


This paper focuses on assessing the benefits of research expenditures on maize production in South Africa. Both the production and supply function approaches are used to calculate elasticities of research expenditure on output and yield. Cointegration is used to establish long-run relationships between variables in these models. The lag structure of R&D expenditures on output is examined making use of the unrestricted, polynomial, beta and gamma distributions. The coefficients of these lag distributions were then used to calculate a rate of return to maize research expenditure, which was estimated as being between 28% and 39% per annum. These rates of return are high, mitigating in favour of more research expenditure rather than less.

Suggested Citation

  • Townsend, Rob F. & van Zyl, Johan & Thirtle, Colin G., 1997. "Assessing the benefits of research expenditures on maize production in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 36(4), December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:54718

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michio Hatanaka & T. Dudley Wallace, 1980. "Multicollinearity and the Estimation of Low-Order Moments in Stable Lag Distributions," NBER Chapters,in: Evaluation of Econometric Models, pages 323-337 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andrews, Donald W. K. & Fair, Ray C., 1992. "Estimation of polynomial distributed lags and leads with end point constraints," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1-3), pages 123-139.
    3. Zvi Griliches, 1958. "Research Costs and Social Returns: Hybrid Corn and Related Innovations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 419-419.
    4. Jan Kmenta & James B. Ramsey, 1980. "Evaluation of Econometric Models," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kmen80-1, January.
    5. Johann Kirsten & Julian May & Sheryl Hendriks & Charles L. Machethe & Cecelia Punt & Mike Lyne, 2007. "South Africa," Chapters,in: Beyond Food Production, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
      • Nick Vink & Gavin Williams & Johann Kirsten, 2004. "South Africa," Chapters,in: The World's Wine Markets, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Chembezi, Duncan M, 1991. "Acreage Response to Price and Risk: The Case of Tobacco in Malawi," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 85-102.
    7. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Taylor, Michael J., 2001. "Agricultural science policy," Food policy statements 32, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Ortmann, Gerald F., 2005. "Promoting the competitiveness of South African agriculture in a dynamic economic and political environment," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(3), September.
    2. Thirtle, Colin G. & Townsend, Rob F. & Amadi, Juliana & Lusigi, Angela & van Zyl, Johan, 1998. "The Rate Of Return On Expenditures Of The South African Agricultural Research Council (Arc)," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 37(4), December.


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