Achieving "appropriate" Levels of Investment in Technological Change: What Have We Learned?
This colloquium provides an opportunity to take stock of how far we have come since 1970 in answering a number of questions concerning the impact of investment in research and development on productivity improvement and what this relationship implies for government policy. Research that had been conducted over the preceding decade had shown that much of the observed increase in output per worker could be attributed not to increases in physical inputs but to something called improved productivity. There was a strong belief that a significant portion of this increase in productivity could, in turn, be associated with past investments in research and development. Studies had in fact revealed that specific investments in R/D often had very high payoffs. Yet there were indications that private firms might systematically underinvest in R/D primarily due to their inability to capture fully the benefits generated thereby. It was concluded that if productivity improvements (and hence, economic growth) were to reach appropriate levels, government would have to step in to correct this tendency to underinvestment.
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