Payoffs to a half century of CGIAR research

Julian M. Alston, Philip G. Pardey, Xudong Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The CGIAR is a unique and highly successful institutional arrangement for funding and conducting multilateral agricultural R&D. Established in 1971, the CGIAR has spent about $60 billion in present value terms mainly on R&D for staple food crops to support the world's poor. In this study, we provide a quantitative assessment of the past payoffs to CGIAR research. We compiled a comprehensive set of all known studies reporting estimates of returns to CGIAR research and to public research undertaken by low- and middle-income countries. We transformed these rate of return estimates into standardized benefit–cost ratios (BCRs), and we conducted a statistical meta-analysis. As a robustness check, we also undertook two complementary assessments. These comprised a selective review of nine (“billion-dollar”) studies reporting large-scale benefits to CGIAR investments and an approximation approach based on an attribution of total factor productivity growth. The results are remarkably similar across the methods. All the evidence points to an overall BCR on the order of 10:1 across the portfolio for past CGIAR research investments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-529
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Volume104
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article draws on work undertaken by the authors on behalf of and funded by the SoAR Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge this support. Alejandro Nin‐Pratt, Doug Gollin, Guy Hareau, Jeff Alwang, Nancy Johnson, and Robert Andrade provided prompt and helpful responses to our queries and calls for assistance. The authors are also grateful for helpful comments and suggestions from Editor Tim Richards and three anonymous reviewers. All views expressed here are the authors' alone. Connie Chan‐Kang provided outstanding research assistance with funding support from the University of Minnesota's GEMS Informatics center. AJAE

Funding Information:
This article draws on work undertaken by the authors on behalf of and funded by the SoAR Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge this support. Alejandro Nin-Pratt, Doug Gollin, Guy Hareau, Jeff Alwang, Nancy Johnson, and Robert Andrade provided prompt and helpful responses to our queries and calls for assistance. The authors are also grateful for helpful comments and suggestions from AJAE Editor Tim Richards and three anonymous reviewers. All views expressed here are the authors' alone. Connie Chan-Kang provided outstanding research assistance with funding support from the University of Minnesota's GEMS Informatics center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.

Keywords

  • CGIAR
  • agriculture
  • meta-analysis
  • rate of return
  • research and development

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