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Why sustain fundamental research?


  • Jean-Jacques Salomon


There is no way to measuring the pay-off of basic research activities and the reasons that lead countries to spend a part of their R&D budget in this field may appear as ideological rather than bearing the stamp of economic common sense. Still, in spite of our time of privatisation, liberalisation, less State intervention, there are good reasons for such public investments. However, in spite of the progress achieved by science indicators, economic thinking and the policy-making experience, nobody knows how much should be devoted specifically to this part of the R&D system. As Benoit Godin has said for the R&D statistics, the pattern of policy-making in the support of basic research is both origin and result of 'intuitions more or less justified' – one more proof that it is not because policy-making deals with science that it is more scientific or more rational than in other fields of political decisions. Still, the study of the means to improve the evaluation process of researchers and institutions within Europe deserves urgently to be undertaken.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Jacques Salomon, 2007. "Why sustain fundamental research?," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(2), pages 125-135.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijtlid:v:1:y:2007:i:2:p:125-135

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fagerberg, Jan, 1994. "Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1147-1175, September.
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    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    4. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    5. Masters, William A & McMillan, Margaret S, 2001. "Climate and Scale in Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 167-186, September.
    6. Fagerberg, Jan & Verspagen, Bart, 2002. "Technology-gaps, innovation-diffusion and transformation: an evolutionary interpretation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1291-1304, December.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    8. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
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