Research Returns Redux: A Meta-Analysis of the Returns to Agricultural R&D

Posted: 7 Aug 2000

See all articles by Julian Alston

Julian Alston

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

Michele C. Marra

North Carolina State University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Philip G. Pardey

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

T.J. Wyatt

The International Center for Research in the Semi-

Abstract

A total of 289 studies of returns to agricultural R&D were compiled and these provide 1821 estimates of rates of return. After removing statistical outliers and incomplete observations, across the remaining 1128 observations the estimated annual rates of return averaged 65 per cent overall; 80 per cent for research only, 80 per cent for extension only, and 47 per cent for research and extension combined. These averages reveal little meaningful information from a large body of literature, which provides rate-of-return estimates that are often not directly comparable. This study was aimed at trying to account for the differences. Several features of the methods used by research evaluators matter, in particular assumptions about lag lengths and the nature of the research-induced supply shift.

JEL Classification: O31, Q12

Suggested Citation

Alston, Julian and Marra, Michele C. and Pardey, Philip G. and Wyatt, T.J., Research Returns Redux: A Meta-Analysis of the Returns to Agricultural R&D. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=235962

Julian Alston (Contact Author)

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

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Michele C. Marra

North Carolina State University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ( email )

Box 8109
4221 D Nelson Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695-8109
United States
919-515-6091 (Phone)
919-515-1824 (Fax)

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

T.J. Wyatt

The International Center for Research in the Semi-

Sahelian Center
Niger

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