An Evaluation of Public Research in Three Forest Products Industries
Abstract:This paper follows an earlier assessment of softwood plywood research by evaluating public research in the sawmill, woodpulp, and wood preservatives industries. Together, these are a sufficiently broad group of forest product industries to enable generalizations about the merit of public forest products research. The general econometric results for the three additional industries are at least as satisfying as those in the broader research evaluation literature. Public research in each of the four industries returned a net social gain for the 1950-1980 period of our examination. Large consumer gains and producer gains that are either negative (sawmills, woodpulp, wood preservatives), or divided among too many firms to enable private profitability (sawmills, SWPW), or nonmarket and environmental (wood preservatives, perhaps woodpulp), justify the public role in each industry. There is some suggestion, however, that politically encouraged research activities have not paid off. Our summary policy statement is that public research managers, particularly at the Forest Products Laboratory, when allowed their own judgment, have made socially beneficial decisions. For. Sci. 37(2):669-687.
Document Type: Journal Article
Affiliations: Branch Chief, Economics Research Service, Washington, DC
Publication date: June 1, 1991
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