'Public Good,' or 'Good for the Public?' Political Entrepreneurship and the Public Funding of Scientific Research

Journal of Private Enterprise

28 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2014 Last revised: 29 Jan 2021

Date Written: December 11, 2020

Abstract

Public goods are traditionally classified according to an exogenous, technological definition of possessing the characteristics of nonrivalry and nonexcludability. This paper takes a more endogenous approach, where goods are defined by the political purposes that specific actors have revolving these goods, and emerge through political entrepreneurship. I use government sponsorship of basic scientific research as a case study. Proponents argue that scientific research constitutes a public good requiring government assistance, but in fact, government provision of science is endogenous, and better explained by the political entrepreneurship involved in convincing the public of the superiority of political over private provision.

Keywords: public goods, public choice, political economy, political entrepreneurship, science

JEL Classification: H40, H41, B25, D70

Suggested Citation

Safner, Ryan, 'Public Good,' or 'Good for the Public?' Political Entrepreneurship and the Public Funding of Scientific Research (December 11, 2020). Journal of Private Enterprise, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2488655 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2488655

Ryan Safner (Contact Author)

Hood College ( email )

401 Rosemont Avenue
Frederick, MD 21701
United States

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