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Economies Of Scale And Scope, And The Economic Efficiency Of China'S Agricultural Research System


  • Jin, Songqing
  • Alston, Julian M.
  • Rozelle, Scott
  • Huang, Jikun


Faced with the task of reorganizing the largest agricultural research system in the world, officials in China are developing a strategy for reform. This paper investigates economies of scale and scope and other potential sources of improvements in the economic efficiency of crop breeding, an industry at the heart of the nation's food economy. Using a panel data set covering 46 wheat and maize breeding institutes from 1981 to 2000, we estimate both single output and multiple output cost functions for the production of new varieties at China's wheat and maize breeding institutes. Our descriptive and analytical results indicate strong economies of scale, along with small to moderate economies of scope related to the joint production of new wheat and maize varieties. Cost efficiency increases significantly with increases in the breeders' educational status and with increases in access to genetic materials from outside the institute. Our results can help guide reformers in their efforts to increase the efficiency of China's crop breeding system.

Suggested Citation

  • Jin, Songqing & Alston, Julian M. & Rozelle, Scott & Huang, Jikun, 2003. "Economies Of Scale And Scope, And The Economic Efficiency Of China'S Agricultural Research System," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22088, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea03:22088
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.22088

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gyimah-Brempong, Kwabena, 1987. "Economies of Scale in Municipal Police Departments: The Case of Florida," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 352-356, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gao, Zhifeng & Featherstone, Allen M., 2008. "Estimating economies of scope using the profit function: A dual approach for the normalized quadratic profit function," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 418-421, September.
    2. Thomas P. Triebs & David S. Saal & Pablo Arocena & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2016. "Estimating economies of scale and scope with flexible technology," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 173-186, April.
    3. Matthew Andersen & Julian Alston & Philip Pardey, 2012. "Capital use intensity and productivity biases," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 59-71, February.
    4. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Hatzenbuehler, Patrick L. & Edeh, Hyacinth, 2018. "Effects of agricultural mechanization on economies of scope in crop production in Nigeria," NSSP working papers 53, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Alem, Habtamu1 & Lien, Gudbrand1 & Kumbhakar, Subal C1 & Hardaker, J. Brian, 2017. "Economies Of Scale And Scope In The Norwegian Agriculture," 2017 International Congress, August 28-September 1, 2017, Parma, Italy 260907, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Hajargasht, Gholamreza & Coelli, Tim & Rao, D.S. Prasada, 2008. "A dual measure of economies of scope," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 185-188, August.
    7. Pardey, Philip G. & Alston, Julian M. & Ruttan, Vernon W., 2010. "The Economics of Innovation and Technical Change in Agriculture," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 939-984, Elsevier.
    8. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Nasir, Abdullahi Mohammed, 2017. "The role of the locations of public sector varietal development activities on agricultural productivity: Evidence from northern Nigeria:," NSSP working papers 42, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


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