Author Archives: Richard R. Nelson


This article is in Infrastructure for a Stormy Future, Winter 2018

What drives innovation? In “What Does Innovation Today Tell Us about the US Economy Tomorrow?” (Issues, Fall 2017), Jeffrey Funk starts with an assertion that puzzles me, but after that he develops and provides evidence for a point of view that is quite consistent with my knowledge. He asserts early on that most scholars of […]

Book Review: A science funding contrarian

This article is in Feeding a Growing World Population, Fall 1997

A science funding contrarian The Economic Laws of Scientific Research, by Terence Kealey. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997, 388 pp. Richard R. Nelson The premise of Terence Kealey’s book-that scientific research would do better without government support-has naturally attracted a lot of attention and generated a lot of emotion. Kealey is an impassioned advocate […]

Physics Envy: Get Over It

This article is in A New Model for the American Research University, Spring 2015

Physics studies different things, and in different ways, than other sciences. Understanding those differences is important if we are to have effective science policies. Physics has long been regarded as the model of what a science should be. It has been the hope, and the expectation, that if sufficient time, resources and talent were put […]