The Economics of Agricultural R&D

Posted: 4 Jun 2010

See all articles by Julian Alston

Julian Alston

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Philip G. Pardey

University of Minnesota - College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences - Department of Applied Economics

Jennifer S. James

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

Matthew A. Andersen

University of Wyoming

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Abstract

Agricultural research has transformed agriculture and in doing so contributed to the transformation of economies. Economic issues arise because agricultural research is subject to various market failures, because the resulting innovations and technological changes have important economic consequences for net income and its distribution, and because the consequences are difficult to discern and attribute. Economists have developed models and measures of the economic consequences of agricultural R&D and related policies in contributions that relate to a very broad literature ranging across production economics, development economics, industrial organization, economic history, welfare economics, political economy, econometrics, and so on. A key general finding is that the social rate of return to investments in agricultural R&D has been generally high. Specific findings differ depending on methods and modeling assumptions, particularly assumptions concerning the research lag distribution, the nature of the research-induced technological change, and the nature of the markets for the affected commodities.

Suggested Citation

Alston, Julian and Pardey, Philip G. and James, Jennifer S. and Andersen, Matthew A., The Economics of Agricultural R&D. Annual Review of Resource Economics, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 537-566, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1602734 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.resource.050708.144137

Julian Alston (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Philip G. Pardey

University of Minnesota - College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

1994 Buford Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Jennifer S. James

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

Matthew A. Andersen

University of Wyoming ( email )

Box 3434 University Station
Laramie, WY 82070
United States

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