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The Organization of Agricultural Research in Western Developed Countries

  • Huffman, Wallace
  • Just, Richard E.

This paper reviews agricultural research structural and organizational changes in western developed countries, examines new financing prospects for agricultural research, and provides some tentative conclusions about which organizations are best positioned to provide services for the twenty-first century. Given that these countries face many similar economic, political, scientific, and agroclimatic factors and fiscal issues, we can expect a set of similar new developments that have potentially important and widespread long-run implications. After three common developments are outlined, principles of impure public good financing are applied leading to the following agricultural science policy recommendations: (i) new political jurisdictions should be formed to finance research, e.g. new alliances across countries and subregions within large countries; (ii) intellectual property rights should be strengthened to increase the total amount and share of total (public and private) agricultural research that is privately financed and conducted, i.e. the private sector should find it profitable to undertake a large share of applied research but not be expected to finance public-sector agricultural research; and (iii) the public sector should redirect its research efforts increasingly to areas that are socially worthwhile, but not privately undertaken, e.g. in the basic and pretechnology areas, on environmental, resources, food safety and human nutrition, and policy. Finally, large countries that have developed a system of shared public and private financing and performance and decentralized public support of agricultural research seem best positioned for meeting the needs of the twenty-first century.© 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 1649.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Agricultural Economics 1999, vol. 21, pp. 1-18
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:1649
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Huffman, Wallace & Just, Richard E., 1999. "Agricultural Research: Benefits and Beneficiaries of Alternative Funding Mechanisms," Staff General Research Papers 1557, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Huffman, Wallace E. & Evenson, Robert E., 1993. "Science for Agriculture: A Long Term Perspective," Staff General Research Papers 10997, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Olson, Mancur, Jr, 1969. "The Principle of "Fiscal Equivalence": The Division of Responsibilities among Different Levels of Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 479-87, May.
  4. Thirtle, Colin & Palladino, Paolo & Piesse, Jenifer, 1997. "On the organisation of agricultural research in the United Kingdom, 1945-1994: A quantitative description and appraisal of recent reforms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 557-576, December.
  5. Olson, Mancur, 1986. "Toward a More General Theory of Governmental Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 120-25, May.
  6. Huffman, Wallace, 1994. "Funding, Structure, and Management of Public Agricultural Research in the United States," Staff General Research Papers 10995, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Roseboom, Johannes & Rutten, Hans, 1998. "The transformation of the Dutch agricultural research system: An unfinished agenda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1113-1126, June.
  8. Zucker, Lynne G. & Darby, Michael R., 1997. "Present at the biotechnological revolution: transformation of technological identity for a large incumbent pharmaceutical firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 429-446, December.
  9. Robert Evenson, 1984. "International Invention: Implications for Technology Market Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 89-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Geuna, Aldo, 1998. "Determinants of university participation in EU-funded R & D cooperative projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 677-687, February.
  11. Ulrich, Alvin & Furtan, W Hartley & Schmitz, Andrew, 1986. "Public and Private Returns from Joint Venture Research: An Example from Agriculture," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 103-29, February.
  12. Ginarte, Juan C. & Park, Walter G., 1997. "Determinants of patent rights: A cross-national study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 283-301, October.
  13. Huffman, Wallace E. & Evenson, Robert E., 1994. "The Development of U.S. Agricultural Research and Education: An Economic Perspective," Staff General Research Papers 10998, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Aldo Geuna, 1996. "The participation of higher education institutions in European Union Framework Programmes," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 287-296, October.
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