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Resource Allocation in Agricultural Research

Resource Allocation in Agricultural Research

Copyright Date: 1971
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 404
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  • Book Info
    Resource Allocation in Agricultural Research
    Book Description:

    Resource Allocation in Agricultural Research was first published in 1971. The new knowledge produced by research has accounted for an increasing share of national economic growth in this country. As the economic importance of research has risen, the emerging problems attendant on the allocation of resources to research has attracted increased professional attention. This book presents the views and findings of a number of experts concerned with the problems, issues, and procedures involved in the allocation of resources for agricultural research. The twenty-one contributors include agricultural and general economists, public administration officials, scientists, and other specialists. The chapters are based on papers given at a symposium which was sponsored jointly by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative States Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In his preface Walter L. Fishel, the volume editor, explains: “While the symposium participants presented varying points of view and different approaches to the problems on resource allocation in agricultural research, they generally shared the orientation of economic theory. Both the issues examined and the debate reflect this perspective. The general assumption was that the allocation problem to a considerable extent can be approached within an economic framework. More specifically, it was generally agreed that research may be viewed as an economic activity since it requires scarce resources and produces something of value.” After an introductory chapter which explains the problems and issues, the rest of the volume is divided into sections on research and welfare, investments in research, decision making in practice, and decision making experiments.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6243-2
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)

    • Problems and Issues in Resource Allocation for Agricultural Research
      (pp. 3-22)
      Phillip J. Tichenor and Vernon W. Ruttan

      Scientific research has emerged as a major source of economic growth in modern society. The growth rate of research substantially exceeds the growth rate of the gross national product. Total expenditures for fundamental and applied research, in all fields, sometimes termed research and development (R and D), surpass $25 billion in the United States each year, nearly four times as much as 15 years ago. The total knowledge industry, which includes scientific research, accounts for an estimated one-half of the increase in national income since the beginning of the great depression. In agriculture alone, more than a billion dollars are...


    • The Search for a Theory and Methodology of Research Resource Allocation
      (pp. 25-61)
      Luther G. Tweeten

      It is ironic and a little perplexing that while we continue to search for the science of economics, we now are called to search for the economics of science. Our analytical tools are primarily intended for problems of allocation and growth where a pricing system operates. In the research sector, where pricing systems operate imperfectly, our tools are, as yet, blunt instruments. Decisions in this sector are frequently left to politicians and bureaucrats well insulated from the profit critique of an atomistic, competitive market. But the allocation of research resources seems too important to be left entirely to politicos, managers,...

    • Social Returns to Research and the Objectives of Public Research
      (pp. 62-79)
      Donald R. Kaldor

      The growing size and complexity of the public’s research commitment and its pervasive impact on American society are stimulating interest in the problems of public research administration. Increasingly, people both inside and outside the scientific community are raising questions about the allocation and organization of public resources in the search for new knowledge.

      The issues are numerous and for the most part highly complex. Few lend themselves to simple or easy answers. Some are germane to planning the future use of public resources in research; others are related to the implementation of research plans.

      Among the planning issues, some concern...

    • The Pricing of Research Output
      (pp. 80-89)
      Arnold A. Paulsen

      The placing of an exchange value on actual or expected research findings—what may be called the “pricing of research output”—is a necessary, unpopular, and difficult task. Few scholars are now at work classifying research investments by ranges of social profitability, and some even think it impertinent to judge the worth of inquiry by its benefit to the taxpayers. Even on the campuses of land-grant colleges there are protests that to place a value on specific research is impossible, irrelevant, unscientific, invidious, and uneconomic. Nevertheless, I will try to deal with this controversial and often unwelcome topic, by demonstrating...

    • The Allocation of Resources to Research
      (pp. 90-120)
      T. W. Schultz

      Research activities are an established integral part of the economy and are increasing at a rate considerably greater than that of the gross national product. There are all types of research enterprises and many of the newcomers are growing like Topsy. But only a few of them have been around long enough to have developed the degree of maturity and sophistication in their performance as has organized agricultural research. Despite all of the diversity, it is obvious that research has prestige, is expensive, and is influential in acquiring private and public resources. But what is not obvious is the economic...

    • Welfare Implications of Agricultural Research
      (pp. 121-136)
      Earl O. Heady

      The convention in evaluating the effects of agricultural research, whether in planning or after the fact, has been to focus only on the positive effects or the gains to the economy or society. But, of course, there are losses as well as gains attached to much of the research conducted by the public organizations associated with agriculture, just as there are for any kind of research conducted in any type of organization. There are profuse examples of the adverse effects that the rapid technological transformation of agriculture, induced in large measure by research and education, can have on a segment...


    • The Returns to Investment in Agricultural Research in the United States
      (pp. 139-162)
      Willis L. Peterson

      With the passage of the Hatch Act, in 1887, establishing state agricultural experiment stations, the program of publicly supported agricultural research in the United States was set in motion. By today’s standards, its beginning was small. Each station was allotted $15,000 per year in public funds, which resulted in an annual agricultural research bill of about three-quarters of a million dollars (undeflated) for the entire country. The growth record for the agricultural experiment stations since 1887 is well known. Their expenditures for research currently total about $224 million per year.¹ Including research carried on by the Department of Agriculture and...

    • Economic Aspects of the Organization of Agricultural Research
      (pp. 163-182)
      Robert E. Evenson

      The state agricultural experiment stations in the United States substantially differ from one another in size and in other organizational aspects. Typically, a close relationship with a college of agriculture exists, but these relationships vary considerably. Research conducted by the Department of Agriculture, on the other hand, is almost completely isolated from the colleges and universities. The economics of resource allocation for research includes not only the decisions regarding how much research to conduct and what the objectives are, but also the most efficient organizational arrangement for the research operation. This chapter explores the latter issue. First, I will discuss...

    • Formal Education and the Distributional Effects of Agricultural Research and Extension
      (pp. 183-192)
      Finis Welch

      For purposes of analyzing the distributional effects of technical change, we have focused on equilibrium models in which factor prices are presumed to be values of marginal physical products. In these models, technical change is viewed as a “shock” to an equilibrium, and changes in input prices that accompany the new equilibrium are the distributional effects. There is no doubt that the partial equilibrium model has served well, but there are cases in which it can be misleading. It works perfectly for the once-and-for-all shock, but is it meaningful to assume continuous equilibrium under a rapid pace of technical change?...


    • Decision-Making Mechanisms for Research Selection in the Private Sector
      (pp. 195-207)
      Arthur P. Hurter and Albert H. Rubenstein

      Interest in studying the R and D process—research on research—has increased rapidly in industry, in the universities, and in many government agencies during the past 15 years. Investigators working in this field tend to concentrate on rather specific aspects of the research and development process; three of the more popular subjects seem to be project selection and budgeting, the economic and social role of R and D, and technical communication in R and D (Rubenstein, 1968). Perhaps the most striking contrast in approaches is represented by the dichotomy between positive and normative studies.

      One large group of investigators...

    • Resource Allocation for Agriculture: A View from the Bureau of the Budget
      (pp. 208-217)
      Russell C. McGregor

      Systematic analysis and planning can be useful in making rational decisions about the allocation of funds for agricultural research. It can contribute most effectively by providing relevant, timely information, in the appropriate form, to the proper officials at each stage of the budget-making process. As a concept, this is simple. In operation, it is difficult, and sometimes appears impossible. Hence, I contend that the most immediate improvement in the decision-making process will result from timely and relevant presentations rather than from improvements in analytical techniques.

      To give substance to this contention, I describe the role of the Bureau of the...

    • Research Resource Allocation in the Department of Agriculture
      (pp. 218-234)
      Ned D. Bayley

      There is a legend of a Greek philosopher who fell into a well while walking along, gazing at the stars. His interest in looking into the heavens made him great, but his failure to keep his eyes on the ground killed him. In allocating research resources, the Department of Agriculture should always be studying new methods of allocation and administration, but it must not let enthusiasm for the new and novel override the necessity of avoiding pitfalls. I believe that the basic procedures presently used in the administration of agricultural research—procedures evolved from the experiences of a large number...

    • Resource Allocation in the Land-Grant Universities and Agricultural Experiment Stations
      (pp. 235-250)
      Roland R. Robinson

      At the outset, it should be emphasized that the decision-making process in land-grant universities and agricultural experiment stations is not a process with singular characteristics. It involves the internal decision processes of 53 separate experiment stations, each with 8 to 15 departments, and each department with 5 to 35 project leaders. The internal decision process at each experiment station evolves from the decisions made at these various levels. Hence, it should not be surprising that decision processes among experiment stations are quite diverse. For this reason, it is not possible to discuss one or even a few decision-making frameworks as...

    • An Overview of Resource Allocation in Agricultural Research
      (pp. 251-258)
      George L. Mehren

      The views expressed here reflect my experience in academic research and governmental research administration. Although the primary emphasis of these views is on decision-making in practice, there is also implicit reference to several of the key issues raised earlier. Four questions are asked with respect to the integrated research planning of the states, the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of the Budget. What did we try to do? How did we try to do it? What in fact do we seem to have done? What are the prospects and needs for the future?

      It is not easy to be...


    • The Road to PPB: The Stages of Budget Reform
      (pp. 261-288)
      Allen Schick

      Among the new men in the nascent planning, programming, and budgeting (PPB) staffs and who have joined the bandwagon, the mood is of “a revolutionary development in the history of government management.” There is excited talk about the differences between what has been and what will be, about the benefits that will accrue from an explicit and “hard” appraisal of objectives and alternatives, about the merits of multiyear budget forecasts and plans, about the great divergence between the skills and role of the analyst and the job of the examiner, and about the realignments in government structure that might result...

    • The Joint Department of Agriculture and State Experiment Stations Study of Research Needs
      (pp. 289-301)
      J. C. Williamson Jr.

      The report entitledA National Program of Research for Agriculture(USDA, 1966) provides estimates of socially desirable levels of publicly funded agricultural research in 1972 and 1977 in each of 91 problem areas. These estimates are, in effect, a recommended allocation of public funds to agricultural research in total and among subaggregates of the total.

      The report is the result of a joint study originally undertaken in response to a congressional recommendation to the Secretary of Agriculture. The following statement fairly well summarizes the intent and principal objectives of the study:

      It is recommended that the Secretary of Agriculture ....

    • The California Academic-Responsive Budget System
      (pp. 302-315)
      James H. Meyer

      An academic-responsive budget system (ARBS) is a term which designates both a budget philosophy and the research budgeting system currently used in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of California at Davis. This system essentially is based on the planning, programming, and budgeting (PPB) concepts, but certain added features and policies make the resulting budgeting system more effective in a university atmosphere. Like PPB, the principal feature of ARBS is its focus on the objectives or missions of the academic plan for a university, college, and department. Its procedures are designed...

    • An Application of PPB in the Agricultural Research Service
      (pp. 316-325)
      Horace L. Puterbaugh

      “What are we here for, to solve problems or do research?” This rhetorical question was the device used by one division director of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to express his opinion of the problem-oriented PPB approach to research planning and budgeting.

      To “do research” meant (to the PPB enthusiast) to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of a particular scientific discipline or subdiscipline, to gain the respect and envy of fellow scientists, to publish journal articles extensively, and, more importantly, to cultivate an aura of mystery surrounding scientific research which is designed to ensure an esoteric quality that would...

    • Long-Range Planning at the Iowa Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station
      (pp. 326-343)
      John P. Mahlstede

      Since the conference of the land-grant universities in Colorado in 1963, planning for research in the century ahead has been the topic of many research administration meetings and speeches. Numerous administrators have taken stock of the past and critically looked at the needs and opportunities in their state; as a result, more programs of research for the future are being formulated each day. Unfortunately, sophisticated methods of managing agricultural research in the United States are not well developed, at the present time, although work to improve evaluation and management techniques for research is in progress. Several studies evidence a wide-spread...

    • The Minnesota Agricultural Research Resource Allocation Information System and Experiment
      (pp. 344-382)
      Walter L. Fishel

      The Minnesota Agricultural Research Resource Allocation Information System (MARRAIS) is a computer-based, generalized structure for collecting and processing information relevant to resource allocation decisions under situations characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. The specific application discussed in this paper relates to the administration of research activities within specific public research organizations or resource settings. The primary aim of the system is to generate relative measurements of benefits and costs of proposed research activities which would conceivably facilitate and lead to a more efficient allocation of research resources within the organization. The system is primarily concerned with the selection from...

  8. Subject Index
    (pp. 385-388)
  9. Author Index
    (pp. 389-391)