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Toward More Effective Science and Technology Advice for Congress: The Historical Roots and Pathways Forward

Peter D. Blair

Annals of Science and Technology Policy, 2021, vol. 5, issue 2, 91-246

Abstract: Science and technology (S&T) assessment designed to effectively inform Congress must be both credible and suitable to congressional needs. To be unimpeachably credible, it should be widely accepted as (1) authoritative, (2) objective, and (3) independent. To be suitable and well-matched to congressional needs, the advice must be (4) relevant, (5) useful, and (6) timely. For S&T advice today, Congress draws on many sources for advice but it created four organizations over the last century and a half to provide itself with different types S&T advice: (1) the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, (2) the Congressional Research Service, (3) the former Office of Technology Assessment, and (4) the Government Accountability Office. This monograph traces the historical roots of S&T advice for Congress and chronicles the creation and evolution of these four organizations over the past half century. Key characteristics for providing effective S&T advice for Congress are defined and then used to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of these organizations today and to identify prospective organizational improvements in each to meet today’s needs.

Keywords: High-tech clusters; Technology-based new firms; Government programs and public policy; Public policy; Technology Management and Strategy; Public Goods; Strategic management of technology and innovation; Competitive strategy; Globalization; integration and adaptation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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