Spillover Impacts of Agricultural Research: A Review of Studies uri icon


  • Measurement of the spillover effects of research has drawn significant attention in recent years. Threeaspects of spillover effects ? spillover as an input in the research policy debate, as an input to supportresearch management decisionmakers, and as an input in the fine-tuning of research evaluationmethodology ? are very important to understand (Davis 1991). Consideration of the spillover effectshas significant implications for research policy design and evaluation of research benefits. Researchsystems generate technologies for target environments and commodities. However, the outcome of aresearch effort often impacts an area wider than the target. Thus, research systems generate two typesof benefits for their investors: direct and spillover effects. Conventional research evaluation considersonly the direct benefits and ignores the spillover. As a result, output from research is underestimated.So when policymakers decide on the level of investment to be made in research, they are likely to do soon the basis of such underestimated benefits. Therefore, the investment is likely to be less thanoptimum. If, however, spillover effects were quantified, they would help in making researchinvestment decisions more attuned with the needs. Incorporation of spillover effects in the researchpolicy design would also enhance the transparency of the decision-making process. Research spillovereffects also have an impact on the competitiveness of farmers in different regions and countries.National research planning tends to underestimate returns to research by not considering spillovereffects and, therefore, tends to underinvest in research. International research support, whetherbilateral, regional or multilateral, is normally designed to complement national research activities andto generate maximum international rather than national research benefits. It selects research portfolioswith an explicit consideration of the likely spillover benefits for countries with similar agroclimaticand socioeconomic environments

publication date

  • 2006