This report describes methods for setting priorities among research projects, particularly those related to food safety. The underlying principle is that research projects should be evaluated in terms of the "expected value of information." Using this approach, research results are valued to the extent that they enable government, food producers, and consumers to alter their behavior and ultimately their food consumption patterns in ways that improve social welfare. Two classes of methods are presented, involving subjective ratings on multiattribute scales and probabilistic modeling of research outcomes. These methods are illustrated by application to two case studies: aflatoxin contamination of grains and dichloromethane residues in decaffeinated coffee.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.