Phi Beta Cons

Is University Research Overrated?

In this Bloomberg piece, Professor Richard Vedder argues that it is. Thanks to government subsidies, we get a huge quantity of research, but, like everything else, research is subject to the law of diminishing returns, and much of what is produced is of doubtful value.

I recall seeing a 60 Minutes segment years ago about governmental subsidies for art in the Netherlands. Yes, art is good, but the impact of the subsidy was that the country had warehouses full of art that nobody wanted to buy. The same incentives are at work with academic research, which ought to be put to the test of the market.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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