Public values and public failure in US science policy


Domestic science policy in the United States is linked inextricably to economic thinking. We seek to develop a practical analytical framework that confronts the manifest problems of economic valuing for science and technology activities. We argue that pervasive use of market valuation, market-failure assumptions and economic metaphors shapes the structure of science policy in undesirable ways. In particular, reliance on economic reasoning tends to shift the discourse about science policy away from political questions of “why?” and “to what end?” to economic questions of “how much?” Borrowing from the “public values failure framework”, we examine public values criteria for science policy, illustrated with case vignettes on such topics as genetically modified crops and the market for human organs.

Full Paper 

Bozeman, B., & Sarewitz, D. (2005). Public values and public failure in US science policy. Science and Public Policy32(2), 119-136.