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Southern Economic Journal

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Higher education and state -- Research -- United States, Diffusion processes


Academic bioscience's rising importance for downstream technology and growing private sector relationships have evoked substantial policy attention. We contribute to the scrutiny by asking how university bioscientists design and finance their research, with particular attention to the mutuality of research portfolio choice and funding success. The analysis requires consideration of other major influences on academic science, including scientific norms, human capital, and institutional environment. Drawing on a national survey of university bioscientists, we find that public financial support encourages more basic investigation and private support encourages more applied investigation. Yet downstream research is only moderately more excludable than upstream. Once research basicness and other program factors are accounted for, neither the next public nor the next private dollar brings significantly more excludable laboratory discoveries. Public money is attracted to applied and excludable research, and private and public funding crowd each other out at the margin. Professional norms have substantial impacts on the research pursued and financing obtained.


Copyright © 2009


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