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Returns to Policy-Related Social Science Research in Agriculture

Author

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  • Gardner, Bruce L.

Abstract

Policy research is valuable as a source of information for decisionmakers. The value of research is the expected social gain from policy decisions influenced by the information generated. The gain from a decision depends on choosing the best policy given the state of the world, which is uncertain. The output of policy research is a conclusion about that state. Taking a Bayesian approach, the ex ante value of a research program is estimated from information about decisionmakers' prior probabilities of the state of the world and the likelihood of correct and incorrect research findings. Case studies of U.S. agricultural policy research cover consequences of trade liberalization, farm commodity program analysis, effects of publicly supported commodity promotion, and the value of publicly funded crop forecasting and research on agricultural technology. The quantification of the value of these research programs is highly conjectural, but consideration of their likely magnitude, as compared to the costs of the research, suggests that there are substantial net social gains.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gardner, Bruce L., 1997. "Returns to Policy-Related Social Science Research in Agriculture," Working Papers 197845, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umdrwp:197845
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/197845/files/agecon-maryland-97-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J. Bruce Bullock, 1976. "Social Costs Caused by Errors in Agricultural Production Forecasts," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 58(1), pages 76-80.
    2. Tyers,Rod & Anderson,Kym, 2011. "Disarray in World Food Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521172318, October.
    3. Huffman, Wallace E. & Evenson, Robert E., 1993. "Science for Agriculture: A Long Term Perspective," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10997, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Hayami, Yujiro & Peterson, Willis, 1972. "Social Returns to Public Information Services: Statistical Reporting of U. S. Farm Commodities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 119-130, March.
    5. Glenn Fox, 1985. "Is the United States Really Underinvesting in Agricultural Research?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 67(4), pages 806-812.
    6. 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.
    7. John W. Freebairn, 1976. "Welfare Implications Of More Accurate Rational Forecast Prices," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 20(2), pages 92-102, August.
    8. E. Pasour & Marc Johnson, 1982. "Bureaucratic productivity: The case of agricultural research revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 301-317, January.
    9. Norton, George W. & Schuh, G. Edward, 1981. "Evaluating Returns to Social Science Research: Issues and Possible Methods," Evaluation of Agricultural Research, Proceedings of a Workshop, Minneapolis, MN, May 12-13, 1980, Miscellaneous Publication 8 49076, University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experiment Station.
    10. Daniel A. Sumner, 1995. "Agricultural Trade Policy: Letting Markets Work," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53513.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mullen, John D., 2004. "Impact Assessment of ACIAR-funded Projects on Grain-market Reform in China," Impact Assessment Series (IAS) 113252, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
    2. Ryan, James G., 1999. "Assessing the impact of rice policy changes in Viet Nam and the contribution of policy research:," Impact assessments 8, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Babu, Suresh Chandra., 2000. "Impact of IFPRI's policy research on resource allocation and food security in Bangladesh," Impact assessments 13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Paarlberg, Robert, 2005. "Regional policy networks: IFPRI's experience with decentralization," Impact assessments 24, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Pearce, David, 2005. "Review of ACIAR's Research on Agricultural Policy," Impact Assessment Series (IAS) 113220, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
    6. Schimmelpfennig, David E. & Norton, George W., 2000. "What Value Is Agricultural Economics Research?," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21773, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    7. Alwang, Jeffrey & Puhazhendhi, V., 2002. "The impact of the International Food Policy Research Institute's research program on rural finance policies for food security for the poor," Impact assessments 16, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Ryan, Jim, 2002. "Assessing the impact of food policy research: rice trade policies in Viet Nam," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-29, February.

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