Stanford campus photo from above

1/19/2003

I'm auditing a class on the economics of innovation. It's really interesting. One statistic that I just came across in the book we're reading . . .

"Edwin Mansfield has been a leader in investigating the social and private returns to R&D. In a recent paper, he summarized his own work and that of others. His principal study of a group of specific innovations found a social rate of return of 56 percent and a private rate of return of 25 percent. He also looked at the private return to one of America's largest companies and found a private rate of return of 19 percent and a social rate of return of at least twice the private rate."

Now my question for our professor the next time we meet, the obvious question, is HOW is he measuring the 'social rate of return'???

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