University of Waterloo Lecture Series
What's So Special about Science – and How Much Should We Spend on it?
William H. Press, University of Texas at Austin
In times when governments seek both to promote private-sector economic growth and also to cut their own expenditures, the science community describes itself as a social and economic investment deserving continued – and even increased – support. What is the evidence that supports this claim? Does government investment in basic research, or in research and development more generally, actually pay off? And, if so, to whom? In this talk we review the economic evidence, including its ambiguities, and social capital that is long-tailed in time, and that has benefits that are not easily monetizable.