Evaluating the federal role in financing health-related research
Romer, Paul M.
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CitationGarber, Alan M., and Paul M. Romer. 1996. Evaluating the federal role in financing health-related research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 93, 23: 12717-12724.
AbstractThis paper considers the appropriate role for government in the support of scientific and technological progress in health care; the information the federal government needs to make well-informed decisions about its role; and the ways that federal policy toward research and development should respond to scientific advances, technology trends, and changes in the political and social environment. The principal justification for government support of research rests upon economic characteristics that lead private markets to provide inappropriate levels of research support or to supply inappropriate quantities of the products that result from research. The federal government has two basic tools for dealing with these problems: direct subsidies for research and strengthened property rights that can increase the revenues that companies receive for the products that result from research. In the coming years, the delivery system for health care will continue to undergo dramatic changes, new research opportunities will emerge at a rapid pace, and the pressure to limit discretionary federal spending will intensify. These forces make it increasingly important to improve the measurement of the costs and benefits of research and to recognize the tradeoffs among alternative policies for promoting innovation in health care.
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