IMHO, evaluating any research by economic rate of return is a dubious
practice. I remember in training in Ag Economics being shocked when
"agricultural research" was credited for huge gains of the "green revolution,"
disregarding all sorts of other inputs (fossil fuels, water resources, forests
soils, etc., not to mention the human efforts of working people including
As an anthropologist I don't claim to have a simple answer to evaluation.
But I think that SANETTERS generally should exercise a healthy skepticism
in the application of standard economic valuation concepts. This is the
sort of evaluation that has got us into the fix we are in.
West Virginia University
California University of Pennsylvania