From market magic to calypso science policy a review of Terence Kealey's The economic laws of scientific research
The current reconsideration of public research funding policies in the U.S., and U.K. and other industrialized economies makes it important that policy makers and the public understand the valid economic grounds for government support of science. This review article of a book that which argues for the ending of all government support of non-military R&D, provides an occasion to take stock of what is known about the subject. The review concludes that the extreme laissez-faire science policy arguments adroitly advanced by Terrance Kealey's book are analytically without foundation, and are based upon distortions and misinterpretations of the evidence of economic history, as well as on the misuse of econometric methods. The problem is that Mr. Kealey is an engaging writer and there still is in some policy circles an audience for his message, hence to undo the damage will call for concerted and persistent efforts on the part of economists specializing in the economics of science and technology.
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