Principal-agent theory and the structure of science policy

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108 Scopus citations


The problem of science policy is the problem of delegation. How do nonscientists get scientists to do what we all, as citizens, have decided? An analytical framework known as principal-agent theory is introduced to examine the problems of delegation. A number of areas of empirical interest in science policy are highlighted and recast as problems specific to delegatory relationships. The implications of science as an agent of society are addressed. The conclusion is that none of the values of science, such as scientific autonomy or scientific truth, is threatened by taking a principal-agent perspective on science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-240
Number of pages12
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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