April 17, 2024

Bernanke Discusses Federal Role in Research

“We know less than we would like about which policies work best,” Mr. Bernanke said in remarks to a conference on innovation at Georgetown University.

Mr. Bernanke listed options available: direct financing to research institutions, grants to universities or private sector researchers, contracts for specific projects and tax incentives. But he offered no preference to which is best. That varies based on the type of project, he said.

The federal government accounted for roughly 26 percent of total spending on research and development in the United States in 2008. That’s down from around 50 percent in the previous three decades.

Mr. Bernanke also said that government support for research and development financing was most effective if seen as a long-term investment in the economy.

Lags from basic research to commercial applications that can benefit the economy can be very long, he said. For instance, the Internet revolution of the 1990s was based on scientific investments made in the 1970s and 1980s.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d6fd31dcca86e53a93db12c9f9a28a96

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