The Limits of Capital: Transcending the Public Financer - Private Producer Split in R&D

41 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2011

See all articles by Dan Breznitz

Dan Breznitz

Georgia Institute of Technology

Amos Zehavi

Tel Aviv University

Date Written: November 12, 2009


A near consensus has emerged supporting the public funding of industrial R&D as a solution to a host of market failures. However, the common policy prescription urges government to go no further than minimal ‘market enhancing’ intervention, largely keeping the state to the role of financer of privately conducted R&D. By focusing on three general issues in the context of industrial R&D – trust, coordination, and motivation – this article develops an argument for a more expansive government role. Two models of state intervention are at the center of the analysis: public production of R&D, and state sponsorship of inter-firm and inter-organizational networks. It is argued that both these models have distinct advantages, as well as weaknesses, in addressing common challenges to industrial R&D production. Informed by the positive experiences of different states that have moved in recent years from high technology industries' periphery to the center, this article explains how the two models of state intervention address the various problems associated with pure private production. It is concluded that while even advanced countries with well developed markets might find it advantageous to actively intervene in industrial R&D, the two models should especially be considered in cases of economies that suffer from weak market signals, low retention of value-added functions, limited professional capacities, and limited institutional thickness and networks.

Keywords: R&D, Privitization, Innovation POlicy, Science and Technology, Economic Growth

Suggested Citation

Breznitz, Dan and Zehavi, Amos, The Limits of Capital: Transcending the Public Financer - Private Producer Split in R&D (November 12, 2009). Research Policy, Vol. 39, No. 2, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Dan Breznitz (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

Amos Zehavi

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel-Aviv, 6997801

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics