Barber, Richard J. The Politics of Research. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1966.

 

Barber, Richard J. The Politics of Research. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1966.

This is a good book in many ways. It provides these data for 1962: "Although some universities
find government research funds bulk large in their income, this is true of only a few institutions
for most of the federal research dollar goes to a very small group of schools. In 1962, 38 per cent
of all federal support for academic research went to just ten institutions and 59 per cent to just
25. When it is recalled that there are more than 2,000 colleges and universities in the United
States, that fact that just ten schools - California, MIT, Columbia, Michigan, Harvard, Illinois,
Stanford, Chicago, Washington and Wisconsin - account for nearly two of every five federal
research dollars is a truly a striking characteristic." (p. 51)

In a footnote regarding the last sentence, (41 p. 143), the author cites Jerome B. Wisner whose
observation, of this phenomenon in 1963 put it this way: "(T)he distribution of the biggest share
of federal research money to the best-known universities only makes them richer and increases
their chances of gaining more support in the future." So Merton was not the first to observe the
Matthew Effect, just to popularize it.

Regarding geographical distributions, in 1961 the DOD spent R&D money with 40% going to
California, 12% to NY and 6% to Massachusetts. In the following year, essentially the same
results obtained.

A small number of industrial firms, all of them huge, discloses the same sort of information.
"The top 100 firms accounted for 40 per cent of both net sales and employment, but they did 92
per cent of government-supported research." (p. 73) In chemistry, just four companies receive 77
per cent of the R&D of government.