As Science Evolves, How Can Science Policy?
Getting science policy right is a core objective of government that bears on scientific advance, economic growth, health, and longevity. Yet the process of science is changing. As science advances and knowledge accumulates, ensuing generations of innovators spend longer in training and become more narrowly expert, shifting key innovations (i) later in the life cycle and (ii) from solo researchers toward teams. This paper summarizes the evidence that science has evolved - and continues to evolve - on both dimensions. The paper then considers science policy. The ongoing shift away from younger scholars and toward teamwork raises serious policy challenges. Central issues involve (a) maintaining incentives for entry into scientific careers as the training phase extends, (b) ensuring effective evaluation of ideas (including decisions on patent rights and research grants) as evaluator expertise narrows, and (c) providing appropriate effort incentives as scientists increasingly work in teams. Institutions such as government grant agencies, the patent office, the science education system, and the Nobel Prize come under a unified focus in this paper. In all cases, the question is how these institutions can change. As science evolves, science policy may become increasingly misaligned with science itself - unless science policy evolves in tandem.
|Date of creation:||May 2010|
|Publication status:||published as As Science Evolves, How Can Science Policy? , Benjamin F. Jones. in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 11 , Lerner and Stern. 2010|
|Note:||ED EFG PR|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Benjamin F. Jones, 2009.
"The Burden of Knowledge and the "Death of the Renaissance Man": Is Innovation Getting Harder?,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 283-317.
- Benjamin F. Jones, 2005. "The burden of knowledge and the ‘death of the Renaissance man’: Is innovation getting harder?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Benjamin F. Jones, 2005. "The Burden of Knowledge and the 'Death of the Renaissance Man': Is Innovation Getting Harder?," NBER Working Papers 11360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
- Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
- Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
- Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
- Benjamin F. Jones, 2010. "Age and Great Invention," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 1-14, February. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)