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December 4, 2017 | Publications, Articles | By MG

Should governments fund basic science?

...Evidence from a willingness-to-pay experiment in five universities. Massimo Florio, Francesco Giffoni and Gelsomina Catalano. Journal of Economic Policy Reform

“Tax-payers are usually the ultimate funders of large-scale research infrastructures (RIs), but the expected discoveries of such projects often do not have any known use-value. By interviewing 1,022 undergraduates, we study the drivers of preferences for paying for basic research, which are still little known. We focus on the LHC at CERN, where the Higgs boson was discovered. Income, awareness, and positive attitudes towards science drive a positive willingness-to-pay for science. Students in social sciences and the humanities are willing to contribute to scientific curricula at least as much as their peers. Findings offer support to government funding of basic research as a public good.”

 
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