NBER Working Paper No. 15793
The achievements in agricultural innovation over the past century have been impressive, supporting large increases in agricultural yields and low food prices. Critical to this success has been sustained public sector investment combined with a decentralized and competitive research system in the US. Recent intellectual property reforms motivated increased private investment, yet the private sector still relies upon basic research produced by the public sector. Problems with scientific freedom to operate as well as concentration in the agricultural biotechnology industry also emerged due to intellectual property rights. For new technologies, the case of agriculture demonstrates that government has an important role in antitrust, the effective and efficient regulation of technologies, and in facilitating technology adoption.
Published: Agricultural Innovation, Tiffany Shih, Brian Wright, in Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors (2011), University of Chicago Press