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Evaluating the Research Benefits for Traded Commodities

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  • Edwards, Geoff W.

Abstract

A great deal of attention has been devoted in the last two decades to assessing the economic consequences of agricultural research. The biotechnology revolution (see, for example, Hueth and Just, 1986; Kalter and Tauer, 1986) may provide a further stimulus to study of the size and distribution of the benefits and costs of research. The present paper is in two parts. The first part outlines the approach used by Edwards and Freebairn [1981, 1984] to study the benefits from cost-reducing research. The approach is a simple, partial equilibrium one, but it incorporates the tradeabi1ity of commodities and the fact that research may reduce costs in the country of primary concern and/or in the rest of the world. Some results obtained with this approach are summarized, and an illustration gives estimates of the benefits to Australia and the rest of the world from research-induced cost reductions in the wheat industry. The second part of the paper contains observations on some additional issues that are relevant in assessing the economics of research for tradeable commodities. The issues are: choice of objective function in cost-benefit analysis of agricultural research; disaggregation into more than two sectors; effect of market distortions on benefits from research; property rights and trade in inputs; equity in distribution of the benefits and costs of research; and demand-shifting research and promotion. Most of these appear to be issues on which further research is appropriate.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwards, Geoff W., 1987. "Evaluating the Research Benefits for Traded Commodities," Evaluating Agricultural Research and Productivity, Proceedings of a Workshop, Atlanta, Georgia, January 29-30, 1987, Miscellaneous Publication 52 50025, University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umae52:50025
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/50025/files/Evaluating%20the%20Research%20Benefits%20for%20Traded%20Commodities.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edwards, Geoff W. & Freebairn, John W., 1982. "The Social Benefits from an Increase in Productivity in a Part of an Industry," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Number 02), pages 1-18, August.
    2. Alvin Ulrich & Hartley Furtan & Andrew Schmitz, 1986. "Public and Private Returns from Joint Venture Research: An Example from Agriculture," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 103-129.
    3. Tibor Scitovsky, 1954. "Two Concepts of External Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 143-143.
    4. Vere, David T. & Sinden, Jack A. & Campbell, M.H., 1980. "Social Benefits of Serrated Tussock Control in New South Wales," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Number 03), pages 1-16, December.
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