Economics and the evaluation of publicly funded energy R and D

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There are three major areas in which economics can contribute to the evaluation of federal R and D: assessment of net benefits, ex ante expected as well as ex post realized; tailoring of R and D portfolios to policy goals; and guiding the contractual organization of R and D production. Additionally, evaluation of R and D and scientific activity tend to be distinctly retrospective, principally because of the long lags between the initial production activity and the observability of consequences. Extending the purview of economic evaluation of R and D, they find ample opportunity for evaluation that can inform current ... continued below

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11 p.

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Jones, D.W. & Paik, I.K. October 19, 1998.

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There are three major areas in which economics can contribute to the evaluation of federal R and D: assessment of net benefits, ex ante expected as well as ex post realized; tailoring of R and D portfolios to policy goals; and guiding the contractual organization of R and D production. Additionally, evaluation of R and D and scientific activity tend to be distinctly retrospective, principally because of the long lags between the initial production activity and the observability of consequences. Extending the purview of economic evaluation of R and D, they find ample opportunity for evaluation that can inform current R and D management practice. The conduct of R and D is organized through a series of explicit and implicit contracts designed to elicit long-term commitments by some agents while attempting to limit the commitment by others. It is natural to consider the efficiency with which R and D is conducted as a subject for economic inquiry, although in practice such inquiries generally are restricted to accounting exercises. In evaluating the efficiency with which R and D is done, the current ordinary practice is to look at labor rates and equipment and materials prices while considering quantities of those items as the principal instrument variables in an optimization problem (the authors conceptualization, not that of the typical review of an R and D project). The authors recommend the contractual structure and other elements of the incentive structure (pay and promotion) of R and D production as prime focal points for managerially useful economic evaluation. Non-economic motivations for funding public R and D, including energy R and D, are well known. The US will consider spending several billion dollars on an international space station, partly if not largely, to fund the peaceful employment of scientists from the Former Soviet Union. Nonetheless, it will be useful to understand the economics of the R and D programs even if other considerations play important roles in funding.

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11 p.

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OSTI as DE99000248

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  • 19. annual North American conference of the United States Association for Energy Economics and the International Association for Energy Economics, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 18-21 Oct 1998

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  • Other: DE99000248
  • Report No.: ORNL/CP--99769
  • Report No.: CONF-981026--
  • Grant Number: AC05-96OR22464
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 290827
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc674175

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 19, 1998

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • Jan. 21, 2016, 8:04 p.m.

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Jones, D.W. & Paik, I.K. Economics and the evaluation of publicly funded energy R and D, article, October 19, 1998; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc674175/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.