Wednesday, 12 September 2012

On the value of R&D...


I wrote an essay once that explored this subject. To my surprise I found a great deal of research suggesting that the economic benefit of government spending on basic science was pretty negligible. A bit like this:

As B.L.S. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) economist Leo Sveikaukas found in a 2007 review of the literature, “The overall rate of return to R&D is very large….  However, these returns apply only to privately financed R&D in industry.  Returns to many forms of publicly financed R&D are near zero.”

Of course this doesn't mean we shouldn't spend money on basic scientific research just that we can't justify that spending on the basis of economic benefit.


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