'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
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: Suggested Citation