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Agricultural and Resource Policy Analysis - Policy and Project Evaluation
FRE 505
Instructor: Dr. Richard Barichello
Email:, Phone: (604) 822-3473 (or 822-6213)
Office: MCML 339
Office Hours: TBA
Class Schedule:
Classroom: TBA
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion


FRE 502: Food Market Analysis or,
FRE 501: Commodity Markets and Price Analysis

Course Description

This course introduces students to the use of two common evaluation tools for government policies and projects, the Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM) and Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). It also introduces students more briefly to the use of Domestic Resource Cost (DRC) and its calculation. The PAM and DRC are focused on policies and CBA on investment projects. Both involve distinguishing between private and social (or economic) profitability, and both involve data collection at the micro (farm or project) level. Substantial attention is given to understanding factor markets and related institutions to enable quality data collection. Case studies are used. To close, the topic of agricultural productivity measurement is introduced.

Learning Objectives: by the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Master the concepts in the PAM, DRC and CBA.
  • Understand the type of data required for each.
  • Identify key elements of local factor markets in order to collect appropriate data.
  • Apply the PAM, DRC, and CBA in real life settings with actual data.
  • Handle common difficulties or barriers to obtaining high quality data, and develop ways to overcome them.
  • Identify measures of agricultural sector productivity, particularly Total Factor Productivity, and the steps and challenges in measuring the latter.

Course Format

Class Format 12 lectures of 1.5 hours, twice a week for 6 weeks.

Course Requirements (Subject to changes)

Your grade shall be determined as follows

Requirements Date Percent of Grade
Problem Sets (2) To be announced. 35%
Final Exam To be announced. 40%
Reading Questions 3 times over 6 weeks 25%
Total: 100%

Problem Sets

The problem sets will allow an opportunity to use the PAM (policy analysis matrix) and CBA (cost benefit analysis) with real world information. The first problem set focuses on the PAM, the second on CBA. These applications will help everyone understand the types of data that are required and to learn key features of local factor markets that can guide one in collecting the appropriate data. The policy briefs will be two-page summaries of the results from their PAM and CBA analyses/problem sets. The policy briefs will provide practice in communicating the results of the analysis to help choose better policies.

Final Exam

The final exam will be comprehensive (it shall cover all material taught in class), and will last two hours. It will take the form of short answer and longer answer questions. This could include calculations, written explanations, and the manipulation of supply and demand models. Exams must be taken at the scheduled times unless there is a time conflict with another exam, serious illness, or an emergency. You must validate with documentation the reason(s) why you will be unable to take any exam.

Reading Questions

During three classes, a short test will be conducted, directly related to the content of the lectures. The objective is to test comprehension of the lecture topics and to encourage preparation using assigned reading material.

Academic Dishonesty

Please review the UBC Calendar “Academic regulations” for the university policy on cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty will be dealt with very seriously in this course.

Online Course Material

Available at Canvas: You are required to regularly login to your course page for FRE 505. Your syllabus, course-lecture slides, additional material, announcements, assignments, and grades will be available.

Course Outline and Readings

How to use this course outline: This outline is a collection of papers, and topics that we cover in policy and project evaluation. Wherever possible a stable link to the paper is provided. While some of these links will work anywhere, many of them are digitally protected requiring a subscription. You can access this material by logging in through your account at the UBC library, or on any computer connected via Ethernet on the UBC network. For some articles no link is provided. If so, searching for the article via the UBC library gives access to its electronic version.

Proposed Lecture Schedule

Lecture 1 Introduction to PAM, including Field Research Methods
  • E. Monke and S.R. Pearson 1989, “The Policy Analysis Matrix for Agricultural Development”, First Edition. Cornell: Cornell University Press.
Lecture 2 Factor Market Estimation: Land
Lecture 3 Factor Market Cost Estimation: Labour, Capital, Credit
Lecture 4 PAM Case Study, Empirical Application, calculating PAMs
  • Yao, Shujie, 1997, “Rice Production in Thailand Seen Through a Policy Analysis Matrix”, Food Policy, Vol. 22, No.6, pp. 547-560
Lecture 5 An Introduction to Project Evaluation (Benefit Cost Analysis)
  • Jenkins G. P, C. Y. K Kuo and A.C. Harberger, “Cost-Benefit Analysis for Investment Decisions. (2011 Manuscript)
Lecture 6 Cases in Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Glenn P. Jenkins and George Kuo, 1998. Buenos Aires – Colonia Bridge Project. Financial and Economic Appraisal. International Institute for Advance Studies, Inc.
Lecture 7 Domestic Resource Cost: nature of concept, how to measure (readings: )

Intro to Case Study on Community Pastures in BC (including homework)

Lecture 8 Project Evaluation Case.
  • Case Study: Community Pastures in BC (cont; Solutions)
  • Case Study: Ethiopia Honey CBA (Intro)
Lecture 9 Project Evaluation Case.
  • Ethiopian Honey CBA, cont.
  • Case Study: Ethiopia Dairy/beef CBA Model, intro
Lecture 10 Project Evaluation Cases
  • Ethiopian Honey CBA, cont.
  • Case Study: Ethiopian Dairy/beef CBA model, intro
Lecture 11 Project Evaluation Case.
  • Case Study: Ethiopia Dairy/beef CBA, cont.
  • Case Study: Ethiopia Coffee market, CBA
Lecture 12 Guest Lectures: Sean Cahill, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Agricultural productivity measures, Total Factor Productivity