Agricultural Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

Tools, Methods & Data


The ST&I program makes use of many cutting-edge methodologies—both quantitative and qualitative—that are helpful in identifying ST&I opportunities, measuring the returns to ST&I investments, evaluating the impact of ST&I, and enhancing our understanding of ST&I policies.
These include the following.

  • Stakeholder analysis (the process of identifying groups that are affected by a technology and assessing how the technology benefits or constrains these groups’ welfare) using such tools as influence netmapping, outcome mapping, or participatory rural appraisals.

  • Technology performance and adoption studies (impact analysis), or the micro-level analysis of the costs and returns of a given technology under real conditions (generally ex-post), the determinants of its adoption, and its distributional and gender impacts based on the analysis of cross-sectional or panel survey data as well as the analysis of experimental approaches (e.g., randomized trials).

  • Market chain analysis, or the study of how marketing policy interventions influence the behavior of farmers, traders, processors, consumers and other actors involved in the process of transforming agricultural inputs into products with attributes for which consumers are ready to pay.

  • Welfare analysis based on the measurement of economic surplus accruing to producers, consumers, and innovators from research-induced supply shifts in partial and general equilibrium frameworks.

  • Regulatory analysis, or the study of the economic implications of alternative regulatory regimes governing the development and release of agricultural technologies.

  • Innovation systems analysis, or the study of diverse actors from the public, private, and civil society sectors; the actions and interactions that link these actors to each other; and the formal regulations, informal rules, organizational cultures, socioeconomic institutions, and learning processes and that influence their practices and behaviors.

  • New empirical industrial organization, or the study of market structures, firm strategic behavior, and competitiveness policies, with specific emphasis on knowledge-intensive industries and technologies where imperfect competition can have an impact on efficiency and equity.

  • Applied information economics, or the strategic interactions among actors along the technology delivery chain with imperfect information. This include the design of contracts by developing companies, issues related to spurious seeds, mislabeling and private stewardship.

  • Business model analysis, or the use of different models to assess the efficacy of a particular organization structure for technology discovery, development or delivery.

  • Organizational behavior research, or the study of organizational cultures, incentive structures, and priority setting, and among individuals and groups, with an emphasis on both public research organizations and private knowledge providers.

The methods ultimately used to address a particular research question depend on the nature of the research question, the fit between the tools and the testable hypotheses, and the resources available. The application and validation of these methods are themselves an important outcome of the ST&I program.