An ongoing stream of EPAR research considers how public good characteristics of different types of research and development (R&D) and the motivations of different providers of R&D funding affect the relative advantages of alternative funding sources. For this project, we seek to summarize the key public good characteristics of R&D investment for agriculture in general and for different subsets of crops, and hypothesize how these characteristics might be expected to affect public, private, or philanthropic funders’ investment decisions.
In an initial analysis, we explored data on public sector investment in agricultural R&D in Sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on data from FAOSTAT and the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI), we analyze relationships between indicators of agricultural R&D investment and various factors hypothesized to influence public investment decisions, including national demographic and economic indicators and indicators of crop production and value. We evaluate which factors appear to be most strongly associated with investment patterns in public agricultural R&D, and whether these patterns align with theoretical expectations of where the public sector would be incentivized to invest. Two interactive data visualizations allows you to explore our data and some of our initial analysis. The first visualization allows you to explore the relationships between FAOSTAT and ASTI crop level indicators. The second visualization looks at how these ASTI indicators have changed over time. We have also uploaded a spreadsheet of the data used to produce this visualization. Visit our GitHub page for a .do file that allows you to construct this spreadsheet yourself using the publically available ASTI and FAOSTAT datasets.
Our analysis for this project is not yet complete, as we are proceeding with analyzing new ASTI data as well as additional sources of information on agricultural R&D spending by sector and by crop, including looking at SEC 10-K filings for private companies investing in agricultural R&D and evaluating changes in funding of CGIAR centers by source.
We presented initial findings from our ongoing research at the Fall 2017 meeting of the International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research.