Science Policy

Course Description                 Events

PP190-01 and PP290-01

Requirements                          Opportunities

Thursdays 4-7pm, 250 GSPP

Related Courses                





Suzanne Scotchmer

(office hours M 3-4)

Stephen M. Maurer

(office hours F 9-10, and by appointment)




Part I.  Introduction: Science and Politics

Week 1.  Jan 19.

Examples: Oil reserves; evolution

Week 2.  Jan 26.

Funding Science: Congress, Agencies, Advocacy Groups


Part II. Policy Toward Science

Week 3.  Feb 2.

Research Universities

Week 4.  Feb 9. 

Procuring Knowledge

Week 5.  Feb 16.

How Public Funding Works

Week 6.  Feb 23. 

Government Laboratories  and Corporate R&D

Week 7.  March 2. 

Scientists in Court

Week 8.  March 9.

Developing Drugs for Diseases of Poverty


Part III.  Science in Policy 

Week 9.  Mar 16    

Scientists making Policy

Week 10.  Mar 23

Research Integrity.


Spring Recess

Week 11. Apr 6.

Science and the Market: Food and Obesity

Week 12. Apr 13.

Science and Security: Terrorism

Week 13. Apr 20.

Science, Energy and the Environment: Climate Change 

Week 14. Apr 27.

Science and the Market: Dioxin, Genetic Testing, Insurance, FDA

Week 15. May 4.

The Problem of Facility Siting

                 May 19

Final exam 12:30-3:30, Exam Group 20



I.  Science and Politics        outline

Week 1

examples, where Science meets policy: Oil Reserves; CREATIONISM


Lecture 1

Review questions

Required Richard Kerr, "The Next Oil Crisis Looms -- and Perhaps Close" Science 281:1128-31 (1998)

Evolution and Schools: Dover School District Case,  Cobb County Court Case

MSNBC News "Judge Nixes Evolution Textbook Stickers" Associated Press Jan 13, 2005.

The Galileo Trial


Discussion:   What would the Dover court have said about the Galileo trial?



Week 2

Science Funding: Congress, Federal Agencies, Advocacy Groups     outline



Lecture 2

Review questions

Basic facts on R&D Spending

Groopman, J.  The Reeve Effect, The New Yorker, Nov 10, 2003, pp83+

California Debates Whether to Become Stem Cell Heavyweight Science (News) 305:1544-45.

Stem Cell Committee Expects to Award First Grants in May USA Today Health and Behavior (January 1, 2005).

Assessment of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act Center for Genetics and Society (January 18, 2005).

Hart, Iain. 2005. Future Imperfect




President’s Council on Bioethics.  2004.  Ch 2. (Federal Law and Policy) of Monitoring Stem Cell Research

Pennisi & Vogel, “Clones, A Hard Act To Follow,” Science 288: 1772-1727 (June 9, 2000)

Stem Cells, Nature 414: 88ff. (Nov. 2001).

National Institutes of Health, Stem Cell Basics

McLaren, “Cloning: Pathway to a Pluripotent Future,” Science 288:1775-1780 (June 9, 2000)


Guest Lecturer:  John Ellwood, Professor of Public Policy, on the federal budget process  

II.  Policy Toward Science     

Week 3

Research Universities                                                 outline



University R&D

Review questions

E. Press & J. Washburn, The Kept University The Atlantic (March 2000)

R. Florida, “The Role of the University: Leveraging Talent, Not Technology,” Issues in Science and Technology 15:4 (1999)

R. Dalton, “Berkeley Dispute Festers Over Biotech Deal,” Nature 399:5 (1999)

More on CNR’s Research Agreement With Novartis,” The Berkeleyan (December 9, 1998).

Scotchmer, Innovation and Incentives, Ch. 8 (also for weeks 4 and 5)




Etzkowitz, et al, “The Future of the University and the University of the Future: Evolution of the Ivory Tower to Entrepreneurial Paradigm,” Research Policy 29, (2000), pp. 313-330.





Week 4 (SS)

Procuring Knowledge                                                                        outline  




Funding Schemes

Review questions




Maurer, S. and S. Scotchmer.  2004.  "Procuring Knowledge". In Libecap, G., ed., Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship: Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Growth, Vol 15, pp. 1-31. The Netherlands: JAI Press (Elsevier).

Gerth and Stolberg, "Drug Makers Reap Profits On Tax-Backed Research" New York Times (April 23, 2000, p. 1.1)

M. Taylor, E. Rubin, D. Hounshell, "Regulation as the Mother of Innovation: The Case of SO2 Control." Law and Policy 27, 348-378.


Recommended:  N. Gallini and S. Scotchmer. 2002.  Intellectual Property: When is it the Best Incentive Mechanism?Innovation Policy and the Economy 2:51-78.

Adam B. Jaffe, "The U.S. Patent System in Transition: Policy Innovation and the Innovation Process," Research Policy 29:531-557 (2000)


Discussion:  Xalatan, Stem Cells



Week 5 (SS, SM)

How public funding works                                  outline  



Review questions

Jay Stowsky, “Conversion to Competitiveness: Making the Most of the National Labs,” The American Prospect (Fall 1992)

Scotchmer, Innovation and Incentives, Ch. 8

Science 113:169-170 (January 13, 2006).  U.S. Rules on Accounting for Grants Amount to More than a Hill of Beans.


Discussion:  Xalatan, Stem Cells






Week 6

Research in Government Laboratories  and Corporate Research






J. Berstein, Three Degrees Above Zero: Bell Labs, Intro and Chapter 7, New York: Scribner.

Robert Service. The Hydrogen Backlash. Science 305:958-961 (Aug 13, 2004).


Corporate R&D

Review questions

Sperling, D. and J. Ogden, "The Hope for Hydrogen"  Issues in Science and Technology Online Spring 2004.

Romm J. J. "The Hype about Hydrogen"  Issues in Science and Technology Online Spring 2004.



Discussion:  Who should be funding hydrogen cars? the government? the auto industry?








Week 7

Scientists in Court    outline  





SM: Science in Court


SS: Statistics in Court


Review questions

Scotchmer, Rules of Evidence and Statistical Reasoning in Court, Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law, P. Newman (ed), 1998.

Proctor, Robert H. 1995. Ch. 5 (‘Doubt is our Product’: Trade Association Science”) of Cancer Wars: What we know and don’t Know about Cancer.  New York: Basic Books.

Faigman, “Is Science Different for Lawyers?Science 297, pp. 339-340 (2002)

Mazur, Allan. 2002. "Science in A Civil Action."  In J. Imber, ed., Searching for Science Policy. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Jasanoff, “Expert Games in Silicone Gel Breast Implant Litigation,” in Freeman and Reece, eds., Science in Court (London: Darmouth, 1998), pp. 83-107.

Loftus, Elizabeth,  On Science Under Legal Assault, Daedelus Fall 2003, 82-84. and interview in Psychology Today






A 1897 Heroin Ad (!) from the inventor Bayer (aspirin).

Foster and Huber, Judging Science: Scientific Knowledge and the Federal Courts (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997)

Martha Derthick.  2002.  Up In Smoke: From Legislation to Litigation in Tobacco Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Imbers, J., ed.  2002.  Searching for Science Policy.  New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.



Discussion:  Cancer Clusters







Week 8 (SM)

Developing Drugs for Diseases of Poverty                                   outline





Drugs Lecture

Review questions


S. Maurer, A. Sali & A. Rai. 2004. “Finding Cures for Tropical Disease: Is Open Source the Answer?,Public Library of Science: Medicine 1:56-58.

S. Maurer. 2005.  Choosing the Right Incentive Strategy for R&D in Neglected Diseases. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. May 2006 84(5).






III. Science in Policy  outline  top


Week 9 (SM)




Agencies lecture

Review questions

Office of the Inspector General, EPA.  Memo to EPA: More Science Needed on Regulating Mercury Emissions.  2005.

Committee on Government Reform (Special Investigations), U.S. House of Representatives. 2003.  Politics and Science in the Bush Administration.

Townes, Charles. 1999. "On Moondust and Other Science Advice."  in his memoir How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist. Oxford University Press.

Jasanoff, The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers, chapters 1 and 3 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1990.




Wynne, “Creating Public Alienation: Expert Cultures of Risk and Ethics on GMOs,” Science as Culture 10 (2001), pp. 445-481.

Dupree, A. Hunter.  1986.  Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities.  Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.




Week10 (SM SS)

Research Integrity                                                                            outline




Misconduct lecture

Review questions

Campbell, E., Clarridge, B., Gokhale, M., Birenbaum, L., Hilgartner, S., Holtzman, N., Blumenthal, D. 2002. "Data Witholding in Academic Genetics: Evidence from a National Survey.''  Journal of the American Medical Association 287:473.

Kevles, D.  1996. "The Assault on David Baltimore."  New Yorker 94 (May 27).

Baltimore, “Baltimore’s Travels Continued,” Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2003

R. F. Service, “Bell Labs Fires Star Physicst Found Guilty of Forging Data,” Science 298, 30 (2002)

C. Seife, “Heavy-Element Fizzle Laid to Falsified Data,” Science 297, 313 (2002)

Misbehavior, not Misconduct. Science 311:928 (Feb 17, 2006). 

How Young Korean Researchers Unearthed a Scandal. Science 311:22-25 (Jan 6, 2006).

Stem Cell Claim Demolished. Science 311:156-157 (Jan 13, 2006).

Committee Report, Seoul National University, on Hwang’s Research Misconduct.




Robert F. Service, “More of Bell Labs Physicist’s Papers Retracted,”  Science 299:31 (2003)






Week11 (SM SS)

science and the Market:  food AND Obesity        outline





Review questions

Nestle, Marion. 2002.  Chs 2 and 11 of Food Politics. Berkeley, CA: U.C. Press

Nestle, Marion. 2003.  Ch. 6 of Safe Food.  Berkeley, CA: U.C. Press.

Taubes, Gary.  New York Times magazine, Jan 20, 2003. What if it's all a Big Fat Lie?

Kuchler, F. and N. Ballenger.  Societal Costs of Obesity: How can we Assess when Federal Intervention will Pay?, Economic Research Service, USDA, February 2002.

Chou, Shin-Yi, Michael Grossman, Henry Saffer, An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Working Paper 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research.




Meg Green, Food fright: potentially faced with a high tab for fast-food lawsuits, insurers crave information about current litigation.  Best's Review, August 2003 v104 i4 p24(10)

Todd G. Buchholz, Burgers, fries and lawyers. Policy Review, Feb-March 2004 i123 p45(15

Kleiman, M. 1992. Tobacco chapter from Against excess : drug policy for results  New York, NY : BasicBooks.


Guest Lecturer: Marion Nestle, Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, New York University 



Week12 (SM SS)

Science and Security: Terrorism                               outline




Review questions

Stephen M. Maurer, Keith V. Lucas & Starr Terrell, From Understanding to Action: Community Based Options for Improving Safety and Security in Synthetic Biology

Richard A. Muller, The Dirty Bomb Distraction, Technology Review (June 23 2004) available at,296,p1.html

Thomas, “From Saviors to Suspects: New Threats to Infectious Disease Research,” in Leone and Anrig, Jr., eds., The War on Our Freedoms: Civil liberties in the Age of Terrorism.   New York: The Century Foundation.  2003.

Relyea, Ch. 4 Silencing Science: National Security Controls and Scientific Communication (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1994)




Marburger, “Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism,” White House Office of Science and Technology Policy statement, National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, April 30, 2002

D. Malakoff, “Security Rules Leave Labs Wanting More Guidance,” Science 299:1175 (2003)

J. Mervis & E. Stokstad, “NAS Censors Report on Agriculture Threats,” Science 297: 1973-75 (2002)

J. Couzin, “A Call for Restraint on Biological Data,” Science, 297:741 (2002).

T. Reid & J. Parkhill, “Restricting genome data won’t stop bioterrorism,” Nature 417:379 (2002).

E. Check, “Biologists Apprehensive Over US Moves to Censor Information Flow,”  Nature 415:821 (2002).



Week13 (SM SS)

Science and the Market:  Dioxin, Genetic testing and insurance      outline





Review questions

Bruce N. Ames, Renae Magaw & Lois Gold, “Ranking Possible Carcinogenic Hazards,” Science 236:271-79 (1987) and related letters.

Gough, M.  2003.  Ch. 8 (The Political Science of agent Orange and Dioxin) of Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking.  Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.

Leslie Roberts, “EPA Moves to Reassess the Risk of Dioxin,” Science 252:911 (1991).

Leslie Roberts, “Dioxin Risks Revisited,” Science 251:634 (1991)

Burke, "Genetic Testing," New England Journal of Medicine 347:1867-1875 (2002).

Nowlan, "A Rational View of Insurance and Genetic Discrimination" Science 297:195.

Rothenberg and Terry, "Before It's Too late -- Addressing the Fear of Genetic Information," Science 297:196-197 (12 July 2002).




Hemenway. 2001.  “The Public Health Approach to Motor Vehicles, Tobacco, and Alcohol, with Applications to Firearms Policy.”  Journal of Public Health Policy 22 (4): 381-402

Proctor, Robert H. 1995. Chs 6, 8, 9.  Cancer Wars: What we know and don’t Know about Cancer.  New York: Basic Books.

Moore, D. A., Cain, D. M., Loewenstein, G. and Bazerman, M. (eds.)  Conflicts of Interest: Problems and Solutions from Law, Medicine and Organizational Settings.  London: Cambridge University Press.


Discussion:  Vioxx and Celebrex, teenagers Paxil/Zoloft



Week14 (SM SS)

Climate Change              outline  top



Global Warming

Review questions

Stephen Schneider, “Earth Systems Management and Engineering,” Nature 409:417-21 (2002)

Caldeira et al., “Climate Sensitivity Uncertainty and the Need for Energy Without CO2 Emission,” Science 299:2052 (2003).

Christian Korner, “Slow In, Rapid Out: Carbon Flux Studies and Kyoto Targets,”  Science 300:1242-43 (2003).

Schulze et al., “Making Deforestation Pay Under the Kyoto Protocol,” Science 299:1699 (2003)

Brian O’Neill & Michael Oppenheimer, “Dangerous Climate Impacts and the Kyoto Protocol, Science 296:1971-72 (2002).

Bert Bolin, “The Kyoto Negotiations on Climate Change: A Science Perspective,” Science 279:330-31 (1998).

J. Kaiser & R. Kerr, “Saving Kyoto,” Science 290:920-22 (2000).




Singer, S. F.  2003.  Ch. 11 (The Revelle-Gore Story) in Politicozing Science.  Stanford,  CA: Hoover Institution Press.

Parson, "The Technology Assessment Approach to Climate Change," Issues in Science and Technology, Summer, 2002, 65-72.

John P. Holdren, "The Energy-Climate Challenge", Environment, June 2001.

Chris Forest et al., “Quantifying Uncertainties in Climate System Properties With Use of Recent Climate Observations,” Science 295:113 (2002).

Andrew Weaver & Francis W. Zwiers, “Uncertainty in Climate Change,” Nature 407:571-2 (2000).



Week15 (SM SS)

Science and the Community: The Problem of Facility Siting      top



Review questions

M. O’Ohare and D. Sanderson. 1993. “Facility Siting and Compensation: Lessons from the Massachusetts Experience.”  JPAM 12:364-376.

Dear, “Understanding and Overcoming the NIMBY Syndrome,” Journal of the American Planning Association (Summer 1992), pp. 288-300

Richard Kerr, “Science and Policy Clash at Yucca MountainScience 288: 602 (2000)

Rodney Ewing & Allison MacFarlane, “Nuclear Waste: Yucca Mountain,” Science 296:659-60

Michael Apted et al., Yucca Mountain: Should We Delay?Science 296:233-35 (2002)




Popper, “The Environmentalist and the LULU,” Environment, 27: 6-11, 37-40 March 1985.

O’Hare, “Not on My Block You Don’t: Facility Siting and the Strategic Importance of Compensation,” Public Policy (Fall 1977)


Guest Lecturer: Michael O’Hare

Other Courses (Back to outline)


Economics of Innovation


IT & Public Policy 

Introduction to Homeland Security

Public Policy for Engineers 

Other Undergraduate Courses at GSPP


Opportunities  (Back to outline)


Lecture series:  (Back to outline)


Science, Technology and Society Center, Lecture Series

Energy and Resources Group, Public Lectures

Science, Technology and Engineering Policy Group

Innovation Seminar (Weds noon): Haas Business School


Events and lectures:  (Back to outline)


Description:  (Back to outline)  This 3-unit course investigates the relationship between science and public policy in the United States.  The first part concerns policy toward science, and the second part concerns how science is used in the policy process.  In the first part, we consider how government decides (or should decide) where and how much to invest in scientific research, and whether to constrain scientific research in order to minimize potentially dangerous discoveries.  Scientists are involved in this political process.  In the second part, we consider how policymakers try to use scientific knowledge to conduct government missions (e.g., public health, military security) and set regulations (environmental quality), and also how scientific knowledge is used in legal process.

The course examines the science/policy relationship from the disciplinary perspectives of economics, law, and comparative politics. The last hour of each session will be reserved for class discussion and/or guest speakers.  Students are expected to prepare for and participate in discussion.          


Requirements:  (Back to outline)  Midterm, Final Exam , Class Attendance and participation.  The final exam will be cumulative, but will be designed for completion in 2 hours. There will be no rescheduling of exams.  If you must miss an exam for medical reasons, you will be asked for documentation, without exception.


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