Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics
Review Essay: Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science, Edited by Philip Mirowski and Esther-Mirjam Sent
Volume 7, No. 3 (Fall 2004)
There exists a modest but steadily growing literature on the economics of science. Much of it concerns the funding of research and the reaping of societal benefits therefrom, but one also sees increasing interest in applying economic concepts to the conduct of research itself, extending even to matters traditionally falling within philosophy of science. The publications of Science Bought and Sold: Essays in the Economics of Science provided an opportunity to take stock of these efforts. The editors, Philip Mirowski and Esther-Mirham Sent, have assembled 19 essays from a diverse array of authors with intellectual roots in economics, in philosophy and sociology of science, and in the sciences themselves. Some of these entries were written especially for this volume, others reprinted or excerpted from elsewhere. The book is seriously flawed, as important voices have been shut out and the editors' 60-page introduction itself is virtually unusable. Nevertheless, the result is a telling portrait of inquiry into this field.