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The Government Role in Civilian Technology: Building a New Alliance

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The role of the United States government in research and technology development is now an important part of the national debate. Increases in real incomes for U.S. citizens rest not only on a stable and benign macroeconomic environment, but also on investment in R and D, technology, physical capital and infrastructure, and on education of the work force, among other factors. In some of these areas, and overwhelmingly in the key steps of commercialization and responding to the market, the private sector does and should predominate. Government investment in some of them, however, contributes directly to technological innovation, the entry into the market of new products and processes and, therefore, to growth in real incomes. Dramatic changes have taken place in the global economy over the past several decades that make federal investment in technology more important than at any time since World War II. Some of these changes include a decline in East-West military tensions the growing challenges from foreign competitors in commercial markets and in increase in the importance of international trade to the U.S. economy. Even as we face a world economy newly shaped by these and other developments, the evidence and data suggest that the innovative capacity, and much the U.S. manufacturing base remains strong. Many U.S. firms highly are competitive in global markets based on a view across a wide range of industry sectors. It is misleading, as some have done, to generalize about the U.S. competitive position from a few firms or industries. the U.S. economy though it is growing more slowly than that of Japan or Western Europe, and in particular the nations ability to generate new technology, is not in decline.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science

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