How can the poor benefit from private investment in agricultural research? A case study from Bolivia

This article evaluates potential mechanisms for facilitating increased private sector engagement in agricultural research for development and technology transfer (ARDTT), with particular emphasis on Bolivia. It reviews the mixed results of efforts, in developed and developing countries alike, to decentralise ARDTT and to encourage private sector investment. Potential mechanisms for Bolivia are considered within three broad categories: taxation schemes; co-funding arrangements; and output-based approaches. The constraints to participation in ARDTT by the private sector that arise from concerns over high transaction costs, intellectual property rights, and the legal and regulatory environment are also assessed. The article concludes that a compliance, or a hybrid of a compliance and competitive co-funding scheme, is most suited to Bolivia's needs. A flexible approach to intellectual property rights systems is required, although it remains a challenge to identify appropriate taxation regimes.