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Mendel versus Malthus: Research, Productivity and Food Prices in the Long Run

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  • Alston, Julian M.
  • Beddow, Jason M.
  • Pardey, Philip G.

Abstract

Over the past 50 years and longer, the supply of food commodities has grown faster than the effective market demand, in spite of increasing population and per capita incomes. Consequently, the real (deflated) prices of food commodities have steadily trended down. The past increases in agricultural productivity and production, and the resulting real price trends, are attributable in large part to technological changes enabled by investments in agricultural R&D. Evidence is beginning to emerge of a slowdown in the long-term path of agricultural productivity growth. These productivity patterns mirror a progressive slowing down in the growth rate of total spending on agricultural R&D and a redirection of the funds away from farm productivity that began 20-30 years ago.

Suggested Citation

  • Alston, Julian M. & Beddow, Jason M. & Pardey, Philip G., 2009. "Mendel versus Malthus: Research, Productivity and Food Prices in the Long Run," Staff Papers 53400, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:53400
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:erevae:v:44:y:2017:i:4:p:634-657. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wang, Sun Ling & Heisey, Paul & Schimmelpfennig, David & Ball, Eldon, 2015. "Agricultural Productivity Growth in the United States: Measurement, Trends, and Drivers," Economic Research Report 207954, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Ivanic, Maros & Martin, William J., 2010. "Promoting global agricultural growth and poverty reduction," 114th Seminar, April 15-16, 2010, Berlin, Germany 61098, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Gunatilake, Herath & Roland-Holst, David & Sugiyarto, Guntur, 2014. "Energy security for India: Biofuels, energy efficiency and food productivity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 761-767.
    5. Vanessa Rayner & Emily Laing & Jamie Hall, 2011. "Developments in Global Food Prices," RBA Bulletin, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 15-22, March.
    6. Esposti, Roberto, 0. "Knowledge, Technology and Innovations for a Bio-based Economy: Lessons from the Past, Challenges for the Future," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), issue 3.
    7. Cai, Yongyang & Golub, Alla A. & Hertel, Thomas W. & Judd, Kenneth L., 2016. "Agricultural R&D Policy in the Face of Climate and Economic Uncertainty," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235981, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Keith Fuglie & David Schimmelpfennig, 2010. "Introduction to the special issue on agricultural productivity growth: a closer look at large, developing countries," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 169-172, June.
    9. Bervejillo, Jose E. & Alston, Julian M. & Tumber, Kabir P., 2011. "The Economic Returns to Public Agricultural Research in Uruguay," Working Papers 162518, Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics.
    10. Moon, Wanki, 2010. "Multifunctional Agriculture, Protectionism, And Prospect Of Trade Liberalization," Journal of Rural Development/Nongchon-Gyeongje, Korea Rural Economic Institute, vol. 33(2), July.
    11. Kerr, William A., 2014. "Food Security and Trade: Some Supply Conundrums for 2050," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 15(2).
    12. Alston, Julian M. & Pardey, Philip G. & Ruttan, Vernon W., 2008. "Research Lags Revisited: Concepts and Evidence from U.S. Agriculture," Staff Papers 50091, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demand and Price Analysis; Productivity Analysis; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

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