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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. Magalh�es
  • 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.

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Article provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 104-123

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:88:y:2006:i:1:p:104-123
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  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. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G., 2001. "Attribution and other problems in assessing the returns to agricultural R&D," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 25(2-3), September.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Fullerton, Don, 1991. "Reconciling Recent Estimates of the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 302-08, March.
  7. 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).
  8. 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, 09.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 146-58, June.
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