International and Institutional R&D Spillovers: Attribution of Benefits Among Sources for Brazil's New Crop Varieties
Posted: 22 Feb 2007
Reported rates of return to agricultural R&D are generally high, but they are likely to be biased, particularly because of attribution problems - mismatching research benefits with costs. The importance of attribution biases is illustrated here with new evidence for Brazil. During 1981-2003, varietal improvements in upland rice, edible beans, and soybeans yielded benefits of $14.8 billion in present value (1999 prices) terms. Attributing all of the benefits to Embrapa, a public research corporation accounting for more than half of Brazil's agricultural R&D spending, the benefit-cost ratio would be 78:1. Under alternative attribution rules, the ratio drops to 16:1.
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