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Should Governments Fund Basic Science? Evidence from a Willingness-to-pay Experiment in Five Universities

Author

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  • Massimo FLORIO
  • Francesco GIFFONI
  • Gelsomina CATALANO

Abstract

Tax-payers are usually the ultimate funders of large-scale research infrastructures (RIs), but the expected discoveries of such projects often do not have any known use-value. By interviewing 1,022 undergraduates, we study the drivers of preferences for paying for basic research, which are still little known. We focus on the LHC at CERN, where the Higgs boson was discovered. Income, awareness, and positive attitudes towards science drive a positive willingness-to-pay for science. Students in social sciences and the humanities are willing to contribute to scientific curricula at least as much as their peers. Findings offer support to government funding of basic research as a public good.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo FLORIO & Francesco GIFFONI & Gelsomina CATALANO, 2018. "Should Governments Fund Basic Science? Evidence from a Willingness-to-pay Experiment in Five Universities," Departmental Working Papers 2018-10, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2018-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Massimo FLORIO & Francesco GIFFONI, 2019. "L’impatto sociale della produzione di scienza su larga scala: come governarlo?," Departmental Working Papers 2019-05, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    2. Massimo Florio & Francesco Giffoni, 2020. "A contingent valuation experiment about future particle accelerators at CERN," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-24, March.
    3. Giulio Ecchia & Chris O'Leary & Luciano Messori, 2021. "Ex‐ante socio‐economic impact assessment for a social science research infrastructure: The case of EuroCohort," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(3), pages 531-563, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research infrastructures; Basic science; Non-Use Value; Willingness-to-pay; Large Hadron Collider; CERN; Particle Physics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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