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UW Agricultural Economist’s Efforts Receiving Awards Worldwide

May 6, 2011
Matt Andersen

Research by a University of Wyoming economist is garnering national and international attention in the world of agricultural and natural resource economics.

The book "Persistence Pays: U.S. Agricultural Productivity and the Benefits from Public R&D Spending" co-written by Matt Andersen, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, has received the Quality of Research Discovery Award from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association - the largest and most prestigious organization in agricultural and natural resource economics.

The book, which examines agricultural productivity and its returns to research, has also received the Quality of Research Discovery Award (2010) from the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society and the Outstanding Published Research Award (2010) from the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

"Congratulations to Matt Andersen and his co-authors," said Roger Coupal, associate professor and head of the Department of  Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

"The role of research, development and extension is fundamental to land-grant universities, and this research provides important insights about the benefits these activities generate. This group has made a real contribution to informing this vital public policy issue."

Co-authors are Professor Julian Alston, University of California, Davis, Associate Professor Jennifer James at California Polytechnic State University, and Professor Philip Pardey at the University of Minnesota.

The book examines the path of U.S. agriculture in the 20th century and the role of public research and development. The authors found new evidence linking state-specific agricultural productivity measures to federal and state government investments in agricultural research and extension.

They show that the time lag between research and development and the impact on productivity is longer than commonly found or assumed in prior research. The authors also note that the spillover effects of research and development among states are important; the national net benefits from a state's agricultural research investments are much greater than own-state net benefits.

The authors also indicate an accelerated investment in public agriculture research and development is warranted by the high returns to the nation and that investments may be necessary to revitalize the nation's agricultural productivity growth, although the benefits may not become reality for many years.

The co-authors are also credited for receiving another award. The book "The Shifting Patterns of Agricultural Production and Productivity Worldwide," for which Andersen and his fellow authors wrote a chapter, received the Quality of Research Communication Award (2010) from the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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