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The Economics of Crisis Innovation Policy: A Historical Perspective

Daniel Gross and Bhaven Sampat

No 28335, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers, researchers, and journalists have made comparisons to World War II. In 1940, a group of top U.S. science administrators organized a major coordinated research effort to support the Allied war effort, including significant investments in medical research which yielded innovations like mass-produced penicillin, antimalarials, and a flu vaccine. We draw on this episode to discuss the economics of crisis innovation. Since the objectives of crisis R&D are different than ordinary R&D (prioritizing speed, coordination, redundancy, and more), we argue that appropriate R&D policy in a crisis requires going beyond the standard Nelson-Arrow framework for research policy.

JEL-codes: H12 H56 N42 N72 O31 O32 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-hpe, nep-ino and nep-tid
Note: DAE PE PR
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (19)

Published as Daniel P. Gross & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2021. "The Economics of Crisis Innovation Policy: A Historical Perspective," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 111, pages 346-350, May.

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