UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Julian Alston’s Fellows Address in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics

Feb. 22, 2018

In August 2017 Julian Alston presented the AAEA "Fellow's Address" at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, in Chicago. That Address was based on the work in this article. The article discusses the economic interpretation of "agricultural productivity" growth, its profound importance as an element of economic development in agriculture and the broader economy, and the sources of that growth. It explores some questions related to the measurement of agricultural productivity, and what we can say about trends in agricultural productivity based on available measures, paying due attention to how the so-called "data" were created—"factology." The available measures are used to develop new evidence related to two contentious questions: (a) Do farmers benefit from public agricultural R&D? (b) Has U.S. agricultural productivity growth slowed in recent decades?

Alston, J.M. "Reflections on Agricultural R&D, Productivity, and the Data Constraint: Unfinished Business, Unsettled Issues." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 100(2)(2018): 392–413 doi:10.1093/ajae/aax094


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