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Privatising The Production Of Knowledge: Promise And Pitfalls For Agricultural Research And Extension

  • Lindner, Robert K.
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    In the absence of some form of government intervention, knowledge is a classic public good which will be under-produced because of lack of price excludability. Government intervention may take the form of establishing intellectual property rights, or other means of shielding knowledge-based innovations from imitation or copying. Such intervention offers the prospect of 'privatising' the production of knowledge in the sense that a certain level of private knowledge production may become profitable if producers can appropriate at least part of the benefits of R&D. However, publicly funded R&D or extension still can 'crowd out' private knowledge production by charging lower prices. The principal finding of this study is that such 'crowding out' behaviour may be efficient in the sense of being potentially Pareto superior even if it is at the expense of public funding for so called 'orphan' areas of knowledge production which are privately unprofitable. The reason why conventional conclusions about privatisation and 'crowding out' of private goods need not apply to rural research and extension is that private goods are both rival in consumption and price excludable, while knowledge is intrinsically non rival in consumption even if it can be made price excludable.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/22736
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    Article provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics.

    Volume (Year): 37 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 03 (December)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:ajaeau:22736
    Contact details of provider: Postal: AARES Central Office Manager, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, Canberra ACT 0200
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    1. Brennan, Goeffrey & Walsh, Cliff, 1985. "Private Markets in (Excludable) Public Goods: A Reexamination [Private Markets in Public Goods (or Qualities)]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 811-19, August.
    2. Brennan, Geoffrey & Walsh, Cliff, 1981. "A Monopoly Model of Public Goods Provision: The Uniform Pricing Case," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 196-206, March.
    3. Ross Williams, 2005. "Introduction to the Policy Forum," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(4), pages 418-419, December.
    4. Burns, Michael E & Walsh, Cliff, 1981. "Market Provision of Price-excludable Public Goods: A General Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 166-91, February.
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