Technological innovation in agriculture can be an important source of productivity gains, and agricultural research has correspondingly been the focus of many development efforts. Theory shows that in some contexts, innovation has the potential to generate improvements in income and well-being for rural households and the poor. But many innovations are not readily adopted by farmers, and in some cases, agricultural innovation can lead to negative outcomes or at least uneven impacts.
Measuring and understanding the impacts of agricultural technology is crucial for the planning and prioritization of agricultural research. These issues are of particular importance for the CGIAR, which currently spends more than £500 million annually on agricultural research aimed at the problems of the world’s poor.
The CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) is charged with the task of assessing the impact of CGIAR research; this task in turn falls on the ISPC Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA), which coordinates a program of work that aims to broaden and deepen our understanding of agricultural research impacts.
This presentation will focus on some of the challenges that SPIA currently faces, including issues of measurement and attribution, data collection and availability, and a range of conceptual issues. The presentation will briefly touch on some recent research results, but it will focus primarily on challenges that SPIA faces in measuring the adoption and impact of agricultural innovation in the developing world.
This seminar is part of the Centre for Development Impact seminar series and is open to the public.
About the Speaker
Douglas Gollin is Professor of Development Economics in the Department of International Development at Oxford University. His research focuses broadly on economic development and growth. He has particular interests in agricultural productivity and the impacts of agricultural technologies. His work has also looked at structural transformation in developing economies, the role of transport costs in shaping spatial patterns of development, and a range of other topics. Professor Gollin joined Oxford in October 2012 after spending sixteen years on the faculty of Williams College in the United States. His current research projects include work in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda.
He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Economies and a co-editor of the Journal of Development Economics. He also chairs the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the CGIAR. Professor Gollin holds an A.B. degree from Harvard University and an M.A. in international relations from Yale University. He received his PhD in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He has published in numerous academic journals including Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Science, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics and American Journal of Agricultural Economics.