Persistence Pays: U.S. Agricultural Productivity Growth and the Benefits from Public R&D Spending

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Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 27, 2009 - Business & Economics - 504 pages
gricultural science policy in the United States has profoundly affected the growth and development of agriculture worldwide, not just in the A United States. Over the past 150 years, and especially over the second th half of the 20 Century, public investments in agricultural R&D in the United States grew faster than the value of agricultural production. Public spending on agricultural science grew similarly in other more-developed countries, and c- lectively these efforts, along with private spending, spurred agricultural prod- tivity growth in rich and poor nations alike. The value of this investment is seldom fully appreciated. The resulting p- ductivity improvements have released labor and other resources for alternative uses—in 1900, 29. 2 million Americans (39 percent of the population) were - rectly engaged in farming compared with just 2. 9 million (1. 1 percent) today— while making food and fiber more abundant and cheaper. The benefits are not confined to Americans. U. S. agricultural science has contributed with others to growth in agricultural productivity in many other countries as well as the Un- ed States. The world’s population more than doubled from around 3 billion in 1961 to 6. 54 billion in 2006 (U. S. Census Bureau 2009). Over the same period, production of important grain crops (including maize, wheat and rice) almost trebled, such that global per capita grain production was 18 percent higher in 2006.
 

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Contents

Boxes
1
Context
2
Introduction
3
A Brief History of US Agriculture
9
Inputs Outputs and Productivity
22
Agricultural Inputs
25
Agricultural Outputs
57
Agricultural Productivity Patterns
86
Research Lags and Spillovers
238
Models of Research and Productivity
271
Econometric Estimation and Results
312
Productivity Patterns and Research Benefits
353
Interpretation and Synthesis
409
Interpretation and Assessment of BenefitCost Findings
410
Synthesis
453
References
464

Agricultural RD Funding and Policies
134
Research Funding and Performance
135
The Federal Role
187

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About the author (2009)

Julian M. Alston is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California-Davis where he serves as associate director for science and technology at the University of California Agricultural Issues Center. He is co-editor with Philip G. Pardey and Vincent H. Smith of Paying for Agricultural Productivity, also available from Johns Hopkins. Philip G. Pardey is a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. Michael J. Taylor is secretary of Australia's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry. Previously, he served as secretary to the Departments of Natural Resources and Environment; Agriculture, Energy, and Minerals; and Agriculture for the state of Victoria.

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