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Reflections on "The Simple Economics of Basic Research": Looking Back and Looking Forwards

Richard Nelson

LEM Papers Series from Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy

Abstract: Many of the points argued in this old paper have withstood the tests of time. The economic contribution of basic research is to enable or facilitate downstream invention. The range of inventions that may be facilitated by basic research is unpredictable, but often large. For these reasons, it is desirable that the results of basic research be in the public domain rather than being patented. One major point has turned out not to be fully true. In some cases the results of basic research can be and have been patented. The heart of this essay is an exploration of the problems that have been caused in recent years by the patenting of basic research results, and a consideration of the policy options and appropriate responses.

Keywords: Basic research; Science; Public Domain; Patenting; Bayh-Dole (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-08-31
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hpe, nep-ino, nep-knm, nep-sog and nep-tid
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