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International and Institutional R&D Spillovers: Attribution of Benefits among Sources for Brazil's New Crop Varieties


  • Philip G. Pardey
  • Julian M. Alston
  • Connie Chan-Kang
  • Eduardo C. Magalhães
  • Stephen A. Vosti


Reported rates of return to agricultural R&D are generally high, but they are likely to be biased, particularly because of attribution problems—mismatching research benefits with costs. The importance of attribution biases is illustrated here with new evidence for Brazil. During 1981–2003, varietal improvements in upland rice, edible beans, and soybeans yielded benefits of $14.8 billion in present value (1999 prices) terms. Attributing all of the benefits to Embrapa, a public research corporation accounting for more than half of Brazil's agricultural R&D spending, the benefit-cost ratio would be 78:1. Under alternative attribution rules, the ratio drops to 16:1. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip G. Pardey & Julian M. Alston & Connie Chan-Kang & Eduardo C. Magalhães & Stephen A. Vosti, 2006. "International and Institutional R&D Spillovers: Attribution of Benefits among Sources for Brazil's New Crop Varieties," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(1), pages 104-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:88:y:2006:i:1:p:104-123

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Evenson, Robert E & Gollin, Douglas, 1997. "Genetic Resources, International Organizations, and Improvement in Rice Varieties," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 471-500, April.
    2. Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2002. "The Red Queen and the Hard Reds: Productivity Growth in American Wheat, 1800–1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 929-966, December.
    3. Martin, Will & Alston, Julian M, 1997. "Producer Surplus without Apology? Evaluating Investments in R&D," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(221), pages 146-158, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Pardey, Philip G. & Alston, Julian M. & Christian, Jason E. & Fan, Shenggen, 1996. "Summary of a productive partnership: the benefits from U.S. participation in the CGIAR," EPTD discussion papers 18, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Alston, Julian M. & Craig, Barbara J. & Pardey, Philip G., 1998. "Dynamics in the creation and depreciation of knowledge, and the returns to research:," EPTD discussion papers 35, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G., 2001. "Attribution and other problems in assessing the returns to agricultural R&D," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 25(2-3), pages 141-152, September.
    8. Fullerton, Don, 1991. "Reconciling Recent Estimates of the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 302-308, March.
    9. Pardey, Philip G. & Alston, Julian M. & Chan-Kang, Connie & Magalhaes, Eduardo C. & Vosti, Stephen A., 2004. "Assessing and attributing the benefits from varietal improvement research in Brazil:," Research reports 136, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Brennan, John P., 1989. "Spillover effects of international agricultural research: CIMMYT-based semi-dwarf wheats in Australia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 323-332, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geraldo B. Martha & Elisio Contini & Eliseu Alves, 2012. "Embrapa: Its Origins and Changes," Chapters,in: The Regional Impact of National Policies, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. repec:idb:idbbks:303 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mywish K. Maredia & Richard Bernsten & Catherine Ragasa, 2010. "Returns to public sector plant breeding in the presence of spill-ins and private goods: the case of bean research in Michigan," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(5), pages 425-442, September.
    4. Arega D. Alene & Abebe Menkir & S. O. Ajala & B. Badu-Apraku & A. S. Olanrewaju & V. M. Manyong & Abdou Ndiaye, 2009. "The economic and poverty impacts of maize research in West and Central Africa," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(5), pages 535-550, September.
    5. You, Liangzhi, 2012. "A tale of two countries: Spatial and temporal patterns of rice productivity in China and Brazil," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 690-703.
    6. Wang, Sun Ling & Ball, V. Eldon & Fulginiti, Lilyan E. & Plastina, Alejandro S., 2012. "Benefits of Public R&D in U.S. Agriculture: Spill-Ins, Extension, and Roads," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126368, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Reyes, Byron A. & Maredia, Mywish K. & Bernsten, Richard H. & Rosas, Juan Carlos, 2016. "Opportunities Seized, Opportunities Missed: Differences in the Economic Impact of Bean Research in Five Latin American Countries," Food Security International Development Working Papers 251850, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.

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