Saturday, August 11, 2012

Becker and Heckman on public funding of economics

They make an excellent case for it in the Wall Street Journal here (google the first sentence and you should be able to get the whole, ungated article).

Aside from the usual arguments for public funding of scientific research, they make the important point that economic research is particularly important for good government. Government has an interest in funding this research, simply as a matter of fulfilling its basic functions, in the same way that a retail firm has an interest in funding marketing research or a pharmaceutical company has an interest in funding drug trials.


  1. While I don't agree with Becker's Chicago School perspective, I do agree with him on this point - economics research ought to be funded. (I wish that things like decision theory were funded more. Dr. Michael Emmett Brady told me that he has once sought a public grant for his research on the impact of uncertainty, but he and his colleagues did not obtain the grant.)

  2. I thought their arguments were laughably weak and self-serving. Did you see Tyler Cowen's demolition of their article?

  3. I liked the principled reply by John Cochrane.


All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.