The Economics of Science - Funding for Research
Scientific research has properties of a public good; there are few monetary incentives for individuals to undertake basic research and the conventional wisdom is that the market, if left to its own devices, would under- invest in research in terms of social benefits relative to social costs. Thus research, especially of a basic nature, has traditionally been supported by either the government or philanthropic institutions. More recently, industry has also begun to support research conducted in nonprofit institutions. This paper explores the various sources of support for research in the university sector. Although the focus is on the United States, the paper discusses trends in other countries as well. The paper also examines mechanisms for distributing funds, including peer review and performance based distribution. The paper closes with a case study of the National Institutes of Health doubling during the period 1998-2002.
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