Industrial Innovation Policy: Lessons from American History

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Science  18 Feb 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4586, pp. 814-818
DOI: 10.1126/science.219.4586.814


The historical interrelations of government support of R & D and technical change in seven major American industries point to three types of policy that have been successful in the past: (i) government R & D support for technologies in which the government has a strong and direct procurement interest; (ii) decentralized systems of government-supported research in the "generic" area between the basic and the applied; and (iii) a decentralized system of clientele-oriented support for applied R & D. A fourth type of policy, under which the government attempts to "pick winners" in commercial applied R & D, has been a clear-cut failure.