The talk is titled: “Golden Goose or Sacred Cow: Evaluating the Impact of Public Research Support Programmes”
Public support of scientific research and technology development is common in advanced economies. There is a good theoretical case for such support, because the social rate of return to investments of this kind is high, and there are a number of reasons why private firms under-invest. But there is little evidence as to how much beneficial effect such programmes have. Simply pointing to scientific or commercial successes funded by the programme is not evidence of policy success, unless we can know or infer the extent to which the observed success would not have occurred with public support. We should be undertaking systematic evaluation of these programmes. This raises difficult issues of measurement and inference. This talk will discuss those issues and provide examples of attempts to overcome them.