Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Economics of Science: Interview with Terence Kealey - Scientific American

SA: How did you come to your view that government funding of science doesn't stimulate economic growth?

TK: When I was a scientist in Britain during the 1980s, [former British prime minister] Margaret Thatcher was cutting funds for British university science to some extent. Everyone was saying that this would destroy British economic growth, while in fact this coincided with Britain's recovery. That made me look for the first time really critically at the common assumption that the government funding of science is essential for economic growth.


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Over my career the piece of my research that had the largest effect, at least the largest measurable short and medium term effect, was funded by a company not by the government.

The company was so pleased that as a reward it gave me an ex gratia research grant to be spent on any research topic I liked, entirely at my discretion. Happily my employer allowed us to operate such "slush funds" without attempting to tax them. It even paid interest on the unspent capital. Them wuz the days.

Posted by: dearieme | Dec 8, 2019 7:06:57 AM