For much of the post-WWII period, governments in rich and poor countries alike have increased public spending on, and performance of, agricultural research. The public involvement in, and policies toward, agricultural research and development (R and D) have undergone a sea of change in more recent years. In this article we document these changes, focusing on the public and, rapidly evolving, private roles in financing agricultural R and D, and the international dimensions of these funding and policy issues. We restate the principles for government intervention in research, and highlight the financing aspects of these interventions, before concluding the paper with some reflections on the implications of all these changes for internationally conceived and funded public agricultural R and D.
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*The authors wish to thank Nienke Beintema for her excellent research assistance and Peter Hazel1 and two anonymous referees for their useful comments on an earlier draft of this paper which was presented at the International Association of Agricultural Economists (MAE) conference held at Sacramento, California, in August 1997. Partial support for this work was provided by the University of California, Pacific Rim Project. Final revision accepted: 4 November 1997.