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Socioeconomic driving forces of scientific research

Mario Coccia ()

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Abstract: Why do nations produce scientific research? This is a fundamental problem in the field of social studies of science. The paper confronts this question here by showing vital determinants of science to explain the sources of social power and wealth creation by nations. Firstly, this study suggests a new general definition of science and scientific research that synthetizes previous concepts and endeavors to extend them: Science discovers the root causes of phenomena to explain and predict them in a context of adaptation of life to new economic and social bases, whereas scientific research is a systematic process, applying methods of scientific inquiry, to solve consequential problems, to satisfy human wants, to take advantage of important opportunities and/or to cope with environmental threats. In particular, science and scientific research are driven by an organized social effort that inevitably reflect the concerns and interests of nations to achieve advances and discoveries that are spread to the rest of humankind. This study reveals that scientific research is produced for social and economic interests of nations (power, wealth creation, technological superiority, etc.), rather than philosophical inquiries. A main implication of this study is that the immense growth of science in modern society is not only due to activity of scientists but rather to general social efforts of nations to take advantage of important opportunities and/or to cope with environmental threats, such as war. Empirical evidence endeavors to support the sources of scientific research for nations, described here. Finally, relationships between R&D investment and productivity, and research policy implications are discussed.

Date: 2018-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-sog
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