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Proceedings Paper

High-tech start-ups: if government's the answer, what's the question?
Author(s): Carl W. Nelson
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Paper Abstract

The US government has tried to help high-tech start-ups with subsidy programs, the largest being Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Despite spending about $6 billion, there is scant evidence that it had any economic effect. That is, the US high-tech economy would have advanced as it has without any subsidy. Program evaluation by the government has avoided the hard questions and the programs continue undiminished. Only two bright spots have appeared, both in the Department of Defense, wherein new technology in young companies has apparently been substantially helped by SBIR. Only three startup firms in the 80s can be held up as examples of SBIR investment leading to public shareholding in the 90s. SPIE companies can expect continued subsidy from which they can gather development funds at the risk of becoming addicted to investment that demands no market discipline. Keywords: start-up company, government subsidy, SBIR ATP, new technology, evaluation

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 February 1998
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 3234, Design and Manufacturing of WDM Devices, (1 February 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.300926
Show Author Affiliations
Carl W. Nelson, Carl Nelson Consulting, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3234:
Design and Manufacturing of WDM Devices
Ray T. Chen; Louis S. Lome, Editor(s)

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