Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller
Science policy, in common with most other aspects of public choice, is the result of a multistage and interactive exchange between the processes of determining purposes and setting goals, deﬁning programmes and implementing them, and reforming rules and evaluating outcomes. Each of these processes is, in the ﬁrst instance, inﬂuenced by the localized politics of institutions and actors that are directly concerned with the organization and conduct of scientiﬁc research. Throughout much of its history, the localized politics of scientiﬁc institutions and actors have been separated from the wider society. In the early history of science, this separation was maintained by societal disinterest or hostility towards scientiﬁc enterprise. In more recent times, the separation has been maintained by a series of social contracts in which scientists preserved a degree of independence and received a growing share of social resources in exchange for services rendered to the education, defence and health of their fellow citizens and to industry. In discussing science as a social institution it is also natural to recall that the institution of ‘patronage’ played an important early role. Patronage continues to appeal to many scientists’ desire for self-determination within a ‘republic of science’ whose institutions only partly overlap with those of the electoral democracies that have become the new patrons of science. Creating patronage for science, like other cultural institutions such as art and religion, involves appeals to aesthetic and ideological motivations. By adding claims of instrumental value, the republic of science has...