State Science Policy Experiments
Over the past 30 years, the 50 state governments have experimented with different programs that attempt to leverage academic science to create economic growth. Three broadly diffuse programs are: Eminent Scholars, which attracts scientific talent; Centers of Excellence, which builds research expertise that involves industry; and University Research Grants, which provides funding for research projects. This chapter traces their adoption and estimates the relationship with economic, political and R&D-related conditions for each program. The results indicate that states, in part, use these policy levers to enhance the performance of their R&D capacity workforce and to substitute declines in national trends of extramural funding of research and development. Viewing Eminent Scholars and the University Research Grants as more upstream programs, the authors find that state commitment relies on the strength of the state's R&D capacity and demonstrated commitment to science. By contrast, state adoption of the Centers of Excellence program, which is more downstream, has broader appeal, which is likely due to its design of producing more immediate economic outcomes.
This research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, Science of Science and Innovation Policy Program, 09-3281, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and the UNC Chapel Hill Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship. We thank Irwin Feller for his comments on this paper. We also thank the other contributing editors for their feedback at the two NBER conferences.