News FocusEconomics

Does Science Drive the Productivity Train?

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Science  25 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5483, pp. 1274-1276
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5483.1274

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From the president on down, many are hailing science as the fuel for today's booming economy, and bigger research budgets are seen as essential to continued prosperity. But skeptics say the information technology revolution is overrated as a contributor to economic growth when compared to the truly society-shaking innovations of the past, such as electricity or the telephone. Even some science lobbyists worry that hitching basic research's star too closely to economic arguments could backfire, prompting legislators to take a firmer hand in guiding cash toward less risky projects that they believe will pay off big.