The Technology Pork Barrel

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The Technology Pork Barrel

By Linda R. Cohen and Roger G. Noll
Brookings, 1991
400 pp. $36.95

Nearly three-quarters of this useful book is made up of six case studies of government-financed projects intended to make certain technologies commercially useful, mostly to space and energy industries. Results, costs, management, congressional votes and other political ramifications are all carefully examined with a variety of analytical tools. The principal conclusion is that "American political institutions introduce predictable, systematic biases into R&D programs so that, on balance, government projects will be susceptible to performance underruns and cost overruns." The indefatigable authors nevertheless make detailed recommendations for improving matters since they believe, quite realistically, that the country will not give up trying.

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