Technology, R&D, and the Economy

Technology, R&D, and the Economy

Technology, R&D, and the Economy

Technology, R&D, and the Economy


"How and how much should we seek R&D knowledge to pursue 21st century human and economic goals? The valid options are clearly presented here with incomparable diversity and depth of thought." Robert W. Galvin, Motorola, Inc. What are the links between technology and the economy? How much does research and development contribute to economic growth and productivity? In 1972, the National Science Foundation sponsored an historic colloquium on research and development and economic growth/productivity. At that time, the entire field of inquiry was in its infancy. Since then, a great deal of research has been devoted to the subject. This authoritative volume revisits the themes of the original conference and summarizes the contributions of research to the economy and society since that time. In this volume, some of the nation's most distinguished economists and science policy specialists assess the current state of knowledge and note the advances since the initial colloquium; examine recent contributions in light,of the heightened awareness of the complexity of the R&D process and the increased international competition in many high-technology sectors; and review the broader implications of the contributions of research in areas such as education, health, the environment, and quality of life. They present a broad and up-to-date summary of how R&D and innovation contribute to economic growth and society. Their essays address such issues as the contributions of targeted national research investment, the differences in social and private rates of return from research, the appropriate mix of public and private support for research, and other critical issues. While the book authoritatively answersmany questions, new analytical and policy puzzles have arisen. As the nation moves into a new era, the context and assumptions underlying the research system have undergone a transformation. The future roles of industrial r


This volume presents the papers and commentary emerging from a conference undertaken jointly by the Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and held in October 1994 under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation. The purpose of the conference was to analyze the contributions of research to the economy and to society. The authors have substantially revised their original papers in the light of the conference discussions.

The aims of the project were to assess the role of R&D in the economy, to identify promising new areas of research and analytical approaches, and to contribute to the public debate in a broad sense as the nation seeks to define a new framework for its R&D policies in the post-cold war era.

Since our two research institutions have been engaged in studies of R&D policy for several decades, the collaboration seemed a happy convergence of intellectual challenge and institutional tradition. The contributors brought analytical rigor to the endeavor. We thank them for their gracious approach to the hard work required of the project. Our sponsors from the National Science Foundation were unfailingly considerate and helpful while we struggled to bring the project to conclusion. We are especially grateful to Kenneth Brown of the National Science Foundation for his encouragement and wise advice throughout the effort.

Many staff members from AEI and Brookings assisted at various stages of the project, and we regret that we cannot acknowledge them all. A few must be singled out for special thanks, however. Isabel Ferguson and Michele Van Gilder skillfully organized the conference and handled the complex logistics. Michael Voll served as research assistant and verifier, devoted long hours to reformatting footnotes and complex tabular and graphical material, and generally assisted in preparing the manuscript.

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