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U.S. Government Urged to Boost R&D Spending


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Robots work alongside people at an XPO Logistics facility.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, has called for Congress to increase federal R&D funding by $40 billion a year and focus that spending on increasing worker productivity.

Credit: XPO Logistics

The nonprofit Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) think tank has called on the U.S. government to invest an additional $40 billion annually in technology research and development (R&D), and focus the increase on worker productivity.

ITIF president Robert Atkinson said total federal R&D funding last year was $125 billion. The think tank proposes to increase yearly R&D spending by $4 billion for a decade, potentially boosting productivity 3.4% a year.

Atkinson and other experts said R&D investment should concentrate more on existing technologies, in order to remain competitive globally.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's David Autor suggested the U.S. should adopt Germany's R&D model. “Investments in human capital, having proper incentives, and having good institutions that kindle productivity are incredibly important,” Autor said.

From The Wall Street Journal
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