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The Economics of Agricultural R&D

Author

Listed:
  • Julian M. Alston
  • Philip G. Pardey
  • Jennifer S. James
  • Matthew A. Anderson

    () (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Director of the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics, University of California, Davis, California 95616
    Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota and Director of the International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108
    Department of Agribusiness, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California 93407
    Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071)

Abstract

Agricultural research has transformed agriculture and in doing so contributed to the transformation of economies. Economic issues arise because agricultural research is subject to various market failures, because the resulting innovations and technological changes have important economic consequences for net income and its distribution, and because the consequences are difficult to discern and attribute. Economists have developed models and measures of the economic consequences of agricultural R&D and related policies in contributions that relate to a very broad literature ranging across production economics, development economics, industrial organization, economic history, welfare economics, political economy, econometrics, and so on. A key general finding is that the social rate of return to investments in agricultural R&D has been generally high. Specific findings differ depending on methods and modeling assumptions, particularly assumptions concerning the research lag distribution, the nature of the research-induced technological change, and the nature of the markets for the affected commodities.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian M. Alston & Philip G. Pardey & Jennifer S. James & Matthew A. Anderson, 2009. "The Economics of Agricultural R&D," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 537-566, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:1:y:2009:p:537-566
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    File URL: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.resource.050708.144137
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    rates of return; attribution; R&D lags; spillovers; distribution; treadmill;

    JEL classification:

    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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